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Performance Audit Notes Effective Open Enrollment Practices, Identifies $990,900 in Savings
Columbus – A performance audit released today by Auditor of State Dave Yost commended the Madison Local School District (Lake County) for its open enrollment practices and provided 11 recommendations to help it save $990,900.
The district realized a net positive impact of approximately $178,200 in fiscal year 2015 by educating 243 open enrollment students. That impact was the result of the district’s practice of limiting the amount of open enrollment students to reflect the available resources needed to educate the resident student population.
“School districts walk a tightrope when they offer open enrollment,” Auditor Yost said. “There has to be a balance between the number of enrolled students and the amount of resources available to teach them. The Madison Local School District is proof that open enrollment can work when that balance is achieved.”
While the district limits open enrollment in practice, it has not set formal capacity limits by grade level, school building, and/or educational program. The report recommends the district establish these limits in policy to aid in determining the optimal amount of open enrollment students to accept each year. Doing so also could help the district better define staffing levels and space availability without increasing expenditures.
Of the cost savings identified in the report, auditors recommended the district consider eliminating General Fund subsidies of $355,400 per year to the Student Extracurricular Activities Fund. This can be achieved by either reducing the total annual expenditures of $852,200 or by increasing the total annual offsetting revenues of $496,800. Operating the Student Activities Fund in a self-sufficient manner will save the District $355,400 annually.
In consultation with the Ohio Department of Education (ODE), the Auditor’s office initiated a performance audit to help the district improve its financial condition. The district’s most recent five-year financial forecast projected a deficit of more than $3.5 million by fiscal year 2020. If the district implements the performance audit recommendations, it could fully address the projected deficit.
A full copy of this performance audit is available online.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,900 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.