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Gateway Academy of Ohio’s Financial Records “Unauditable”
Columbus – Incomplete financial records have prompted Auditor of State Dave Yost to place the Gateway Academy of Ohio (Franklin County) on the “unauditable” list.
“The Gateway Academy of Ohio’s lack of records is inexcusable,” Auditor Yost said. “Just as expected from their students, the school must follow the rules or face expulsion – or, at least the loss of their public funding.”
During the course of the regular financial audit of the Gateway Academy of Ohio for the audit period ending June 30, 2014, it was determined that the condition of the school’s financial records were not adequate to complete the audit. In a letter to the school, the Auditor of State’s office provided a list of records required to complete the audit.
Within 90 days of the date of the letter, the school must revise its financial records and provide the necessary data. Failure to bring financial records into auditable status within 90 days will result in the notification to the Ohio Department of Education to immediately cease all state funding to the school. Legal action may also be taken, including the possibility of the attorney general issuing a subpoena to school officials to explain the condition of records. The attorney general may also file suit to compel the officials to prepare and/or produce the required information.
According to Ohio law, upon notification of the unauditable status of the Gateway Academy of Ohio, its sponsor, Educational Resource Consultants of Ohio, Inc., is prohibited from contracting with any additional community schools. Additionally, within 45 days of the date of the unauditable letter, the sponsor must provide a written response to the Auditor of State which includes:
- An overview of the process the sponsor will use to review and understand the circumstances that led to the school’s unauditable condition;
- A plan for providing the Auditor of State with the documentation necessary to complete an audit of the community school and for ensuring that all financial documents are available in the future; and
- The actions the sponsor will take to ensure the plan described above is implemented.
The Auditor of State’s Local Government Section (LGS) is available to school officials to assist in bringing records to an auditable condition. LGS provides a wide variety of services to community schools, including reconstructing financial records and aid in the reconciliation of books.
An entity is removed from the “unauditable” list once the audit is completed and released to the public.
In late 2010, the Auditor of State’s office declared six Ashe Culture Center community schools “unauditable” due to poor financial record keeping. By early 2011, three of the schools (Arts Academy, Arts Academy West, and Marcus Garvey Academy) had not provided the documents necessary to complete the audits. In a letter to the Ohio Department of Education, Dave Yost became the first Auditor of State to utilize a state law instructing the department to cut all state funding to the “unauditable” community schools.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,800 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Dave Yost, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies and promotes transparency in government.