State Auditor Mary Taylor released the annual audit of MODEL Community School today and says the charter school could serve as a financial model for others to follow.
“MODEL Community School is an example of a school that has kept their financial house in order,” Taylor said. “The school’s governing board and administrators should be commended for adopting and implementing policies and procedures to properly account for public funds.”
Taylor says other non-financial factors should be considered when evaluating the overall health of a school such as the quality of education provided and the safety of the school.
MODEL Community School opened in 1998 and caters to the educational needs of autistic children aged five to 11. The Lucas County Educational Service Center sponsors the school on a year-to-year basis. Since its inception, the school has received a clean ‘bill of health’ in their annual audits.
Since taking office, Taylor has released the audits of 64 charter schools. An audit of the International Preparatory School in Cleveland resulted in findings of nearly $1.4 million in alleged misspending and $1.5 million in mismanaged federal grant funds. Taylor has also launched an investigation into the financial activities of the Performing Arts School of Metropolitan Toledo.
“Some charter schools lack the expertise to effectively manage their financial operations and my office will continue to hold those schools accountable for misspending, bad bookkeeping or outright fraud,” Taylor said.
Taylor says her office is in the process of assessing and identifying the most common financial accounting issues facing charter schools and offer reasonable solutions to provide more oversight and accountability as to how tax dollars are spent.
The Ohio Auditor of State’s Office is one of the largest accounting offices in the nation. The office strives to ensure that all public funds are spent legally and appropriately and works aggressively to root out fraud, waste and abuse in public spending. Taylor encourages anyone suspecting fraud or misspending of public dollars to contact her office toll free at 1-866-FRAUD-OH (1-866-372-8364).
A copy of the full audit is available online at http://www.auditor.state.oh.us/AuditSearch/Reports/2007/MODEL_Community_School_06-Lucas.pdf.