Taylor: Closed Cincinnati Community School Did Not Document $1.38 Million in State and Federal Spending

Audits Identify $958,719 in Findings for Recovery and $446,508 in Questioned Costs

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hamilton County - Auditor of State Mary Taylor today released the fiscal year 2008 and 2009 audits for Harmony Community School.  The audits reveal more than $930,000 in findings for recovery, predominantly per-student funding that the closed Cincinnati-based school could not demonstrate they were entitled to receive, and more than $440,000 in federal questioned costs.

“The lack of proper financial oversight at Harmony Community School allowed the potential misspending of public tax dollars,” Taylor said.  “Complete and accurate financial record keeping is vital to ensuring that public funds are spent legally and appropriately.”

The audits identified a total of $958,719 in findings for recovery, or public monies illegally expended that must be repaid ($891,455 for fiscal year 2008 and $67,264 for fiscal year 2009).  The school did not maintain supporting documentation for student residency requirements, school attendance records or minimum instructional hours.  Additionally, the school did not provide documentation demonstrating that students in the adult continuing education program and the transition program received the state-required minimum of 920 hours of instruction.  Two school employees were also overpaid.

Additionally, the fiscal year 2008 audit reported $446,508 in federal questioned costs, or expenditures of federal funds that were not supported by adequate documentation.

In earlier audits of Harmony Community School, the Auditor of State’s Office issued more than $3.7 million in findings for recovery for documentation discrepancies for fiscal years 2005, 2006 and 2007.  Despite working with the Ohio Department of Education, the school ultimately did not have the financial capability to repay those funds and ceased operations on December 18, 2008.

Copies of the complete audits are available online: 2008, 2009.

The Ohio Auditor of State’s office is a leader in the accounting and auditing field, earning prestigious national honors from the Government Finance Officers Association, the National White Collar Crime Center and the National State Auditors Association.

Julia Debes
(614) 644-1111