Columbus – Health insurance, transportation and special education are the three largest opportunities among more than $1.3 million in potential cost-savings at Madison Local School District in Lake County, according to a performance audit released today by Auditor of State Dave Yost.
“Districts in financial distress must make the same decisions every business and household has to make,” Auditor Yost said. “When you find big areas of expense that stand out compared to everyone else, that’s the place to start.”
The audit was requested by the Ohio Department of Education following an analysis of the district’s five-year forecast showing structural deficits. It examined financial systems, human resources, facilities and transportation.
The largest amount of savings identified in the audit would come from aligning the healthcare program closer to industry benchmarks and peers. More than $357,000 in potential savings could be obtained by renegotiating to offer only one healthcare plan, increase the amount of employee contributions to healthcare costs and raise the hours worked threshold to qualify for full benefits.
The district also spends significantly more than its peers on special education, approximately $9,861 per special education student compared to the peer average of $5,797. Reducing expenditures by 25 percent of the amount spent above the peer average would save $340,000 annually. Recommended changes to transportation include taking steps, such as improving routing efficiency, that could result in savings of $273,000.
The district served approximately 3,500 students with 328 full time staff in FY 2010-11. The cost of conducting this performance audit was $58,000, with a potential return on investment of $22.90 for every dollar spent on the analysis. A full copy of this performance audit may be found online.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,600 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.