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Aspiring to Excellence and Achievement Academy Audit Released
Findings for Recovery Issued, Referrals made to Numerous Agencies
Columbus - A former school board member was illegally hired as a consultant, a construction company was overpaid by $1,500 and numerous other problems were identified in the final audit of the now closed community school Aspiring to Excellence and Achievement Academy. The audit was released today by Auditor of State Dave Yost.
“These sloppy and incomplete records are a disservice to students, as well as Ohio’s taxpayers,” Auditor Yost said. “Both public and community schools must be held accountable as we work to improve opportunities for students in Ohio. The results of this audit further prove why this school was unable to continue operating.”
Jenny Moormeier, a former school board member, resigned from her position on the board on April 30, 2009. On October 29, 2009, she was rehired as a consultant to the school. According to Ohio law, a former school board member is prohibited from serving as a consultant for the school they served for one year following the conclusion of his/her board membership. To determine whether this prohibition has been violated, this matter has been referred to the Ohio Ethics Commission for further review.
On July 21, 2009, the school board accepted a bid from Just Right Carpentry, LLC for $6,334 to repair damages at the school. The amount was increased on August 6, 2009 by another $1,500, bringing the total for the contract to $7,834. However, four checks were written to Just Right Carpentry, LLC for a total of $9,334. A finding for recovery was issued to Just Right Carpentry for $1,500 for this overpayment.
The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) was notified of the auditors’ inability to determine an accurate average daily membership count, the resident district of students, and the enrollment and withdrawal dates of students. ODE also was notified that the school did not complete five required steps that must be performed when a community school ceases operations, leading to additional citations and weaknesses.
The State Teachers Retirement System was notified that the school did not have the records completed to determine if the school withheld the accurate amounts for retirement contributions or properly remitted the contributions. The school’s insufficient personnel and payroll records also did not show clear tax records. The Internal Revenue Service, Ohio Department of Taxation and the local tax commissioner were notified that auditors could not verify if accurate tax amounts were withheld or properly remitted to the agencies.
The school was issued citations for numerous other violations relating to incomplete records that could not be verified as a true indication of their fiscal condition.
A full copy of this audit is 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.