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Taylor Issues Performance Audit of Brooklyn City School District
Cuyahoga County -
Auditor of State Mary Taylor today released the performance audit of Brooklyn City School District. The district could potentially save more than $406,000 annually if the audit recommendations are adopted.
“This performance audit is a valuable resource for Brooklyn City School District leaders as they make important decisions about their operations and finances,” said Taylor. “This audit will assist school officials as they work to ensure fiscal stability while continuing to provide important educational services to area children.”
The performance audit was conducted in response to the district’s financial condition and examines the district’s financial systems, human resources, facilities and transportation operations. The audit notes that the district should be commended for taking the following proactive steps to reduce costs:
• The district employs fewer total full-time equivalents per 1,000 students when compared to similar districts due to staffing reductions implemented for the 2008-09 school year.
• The district has achieved an estimated savings of $300,000 by outsourcing payroll functions since 2003.
• The district has lower utility costs compared to other similar school districts. Approximately $52,000 has been saved per year due to the installation of a computerized room-temperature monitoring system.
• The district increased employee health insurance cost-sharing to 15 percent for certified staff hired after April 30, 2003 and for classified staff hired after June 30, 2004.
The audit also provides a series of options for Brooklyn City School District officials to consider in order to improve efficiency and reduce costs. Some of the recommendations include:
• Reducing the number of administrators could save $94,000.
Brooklyn City School District employs more administrators than the peer average based on the number of students and school buildings. The district should take steps to align with the staffing levels of similar school districts.
• Adjusting staff salary schedules through negotiations could save $223,000.
Salary levels for teachers and some classified staff in the district are higher than other regional school districts. Salaries are forecasted to increase by 4.9 percent from fiscal year 2010 to fiscal year 2013 based on revised projections. The district will achieve significant savings by negotiating to limit the annual increase to four percent.
• Changing the rate of employee contributions to health insurance benefits through negotiations could save $92,000.
A negotiated 15 percent increase in employee contributions for all staff would reduce the impact of rising health care costs on the district’s general fund.
• Review building capacity and utilization rates and identify strategies to avoid potential overcrowding prior to determining building closures and consolidations.
Brooklyn City School District should also consider the costs and benefits of such strategies and alternative methods for consolidating buildings, including input from the community and district personnel.
A performance audit reports on the efficiency and effectiveness of government agency or program operations. This is achieved through comparing and benchmarking the agency or program to similar agencies and relevant standards. The results of a performance audit can be used to improve the effectiveness of operations, save taxpayer dollars and make better use of existing resources.
Since taking office, Taylor has released 61 performance audits outlining more than 2,200 recommendations for improvements. Those recommendations, if fully implemented, could result in potential cost savings and revenue enhancements of more than $105 million annually.
A full copy of the report is available online at http://www.auditor.state.oh.us/AuditSearch/Reports/2009/Brooklyn_CSD_09_Performance-Cuyahoga.pdf
The Ohio Auditor of State’s Office is one of the largest accounting offices in the nation. The office strives to ensure that all public funds are spent legally and appropriately and works aggressively to root out fraud, waste and abuse in public spending. Taylor encourages anyone suspecting fraud or misspending of public dollars to contact her office toll free at 1-866-FRAUD-OH (1-866-372-8364). Since taking office in January 2007, Taylor has identified more than $20.4 million in public funds that were spent illegally and must be repaid.