Taylor Releases Performance Audit of Northwest Local School District

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Stark County -

Auditor of State Mary Taylor today released the performance audit of the Northwest Local School District. The audit outlines several recommendations that, if fully implemented, could save the district as much as $860,000 annually.

The district qualified for a state-funded performance audit when the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) placed it in fiscal caution on July 14, 2008. The district’s five-year financial forecast projects a potential deficit of approximately $9.5 million by the end of fiscal year 2012.

“This performance audit will assist Northwest Local School officials in their effort to identify cost saving opportunities as they continue to work toward financial stability,” Taylor said.

The performance audit of the Northwest Local School District reviewed financial systems, human resources, facilities and transportation. The audit identifies several current practices worthy of recognition which include limiting discretionary spending, proactively reducing staffing levels and reducing facilities expenditures to levels lower than the peer average.

The audit also outlines several recommendations district officials should consider in order to potentially save as much as $860,000 annually. The recommendations include:

  • Developing a long-term, comprehensive strategic plan
    The plan should outline the vision for all educational and operational programs and include measurable goals, objectives, timeframes, performance measures and cost estimates.
  • Monitoring and adjusting staffing levels
    Reducing teacher and educational service personnel staff levels to state minimums would help alleviate the district’s financial burden.
  • Using routing software to help identify improvements in transportation efficiency
    Implementing various strategies through the improved use of routing software could enable the district to eliminate at least three active buses.

The Auditor of State’s performance audits report on the efficiency and effectiveness of government operations through peer comparisons and benchmarking to industry standards. A performance audit is a valuable tool for agencies seeking to improve operations, identify cost savings and improve the use of existing resources.

Since taking office, Taylor has released 46 performance audits outlining 1,877 recommendations for improvements. Those recommendations, if fully implemented, could result in potential cost savings of more than $89 million annually.

A copy of the complete audit is available online at www.auditor.state.oh.us.