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Two Ashe Culture Center Community School Audits Released
Both Schools Taken Off of Unauditable List, Findings for Recovery Issued
Columbus - Auditor of State Dave Yost released today the completed 2009 audits of The Arts Academy and The Arts Academy West, effectively removing them from the “unauditable” list for 2009. The completion of the audits also resulted in the Ohio Department of Education resuming funding to the schools.
“While I am pleased these audits were able to be completed, it is clear these schools need to significantly improve their record-keeping to continue operating,” Auditor Yost said. “Community schools must be accountable to taxpayers like any other public entity, and The Arts Academy and The Arts Academy West certainly will be held to that same standard.”
Both schools’ financial records were of a questionable condition and failed to provide supporting documentation for expenditures. For example, The Arts Academy had no documentation for 16 invoices recorded as accounts payable, totaling $84,754. Auditors also were unable to determine whether or not The Arts Academy had kept a capital asset accounting system. The Arts Academy West did not retain a copy of their sponsor renewal contract for fiscal year 2010. Each school failed to file an annual financial report with the auditor of state’s office by the deadline of November 30, 2009. They were consequently fined the maximum amount of $750 for the noncompliance of this requirement.
The lack of proper documentation supporting expenditures led to findings for recovery issued to both schools. The Arts Academy issued four checks to LED Consulting for various purposes, portions of which were not properly documented. A finding for recovery in the amount of $3,477 was issued to LED Consulting. The Arts Academy West issued a check to Marvin Osborn, Dean of Academics, in the amount of $484. Again, no supporting documentation for the expenditure was provided; however, the finding for recovery was repaid by cashier’s check on May 4, 2011.
The Ohio Ethics Commission was forwarded findings that both schools violated Ohio Revised Code Section 2921.42(A)(1), which prohibits a public official from authorizing or using the authority or influence of the public official’s office to secure a public contract in which the public official, a member of the public official’s family or any of the public official’s business associates have an interest. The Titus Group, owned by Alexis Rainbow, Head of School, was paid $7,000 by The Arts Academy and $3,000 by The Arts Academy West during fiscal year 2009. Rainbow Art Immersion, LLC, also owned by Ms. Rainbow, was paid $37,868 by The Arts Academy for services. The brother of the dean of students of The Arts Academy was paid $22,521 for services rendered during 2009. A board member’s company was paid $9,460 for psychological services.
Both schools were found in violation of Ohio Revised Code Section 121.22 (C), which states that all meetings of any public body are declared to be public meetings open to the public at all times. Board meeting minutes were not kept, and each academy did not provide an open meeting or public meeting notification.
The Arts Academy and The Arts Academy West were placed on the “unauditable” list on November 3, 2010 for fiscal year 2009 records. The academies had their funding frozen by the Ohio Department of Education in April 2011 for failing to provide adequate fiscal year 2009 financial records within 90 days of being declared “unauditable.” Both schools continue to be on the “unauditable” list for their fiscal year 2010 records.
Full copies of The Arts Academy audit and The Arts Academy West audit are available online.
The Auditor of State is one of five independently elected offices under the Ohio Constitution. Auditor Yost’s office is responsible for auditing over 5,600 state and local government agencies. Staff also works in partnership with state and local governments to deal effectively with financial, accounting and budgetary issues.