Auditor of State Mary Taylor today released the fiscal year 2007 and 2008 audits of Columbus Humanities Arts and Technology Academy. The 2007 audit reveals nearly $12,000 in findings for recovery, or determinations that public monies were illegally expended, that must be repaid by school employees.
“It is critical that public entities properly account for each and every tax dollar spent,” Taylor said. “The failure to maintain documents that support the expenditures of public funds increases the likelihood of theft or fraud.”
The 2007 audit states that findings for recovery totaling $11,965 must be repaid to the school. No supporting documentation was available to verify that the cash withdrawals made by school employees, Marcia Johnson and Danielle Turner, were appropriate. Taylor is referring the issue to the Ohio Attorney General for review.
The audit also cites weak internal controls. For example, school employees independently opened separate bank accounts for school funds instead of using the academy’s general bank account. The audit recommends that the school establish policies and procedures for retaining funds in one bank account.
Other issues noted in the audit include:
• An insufficient number of board members and failure to monitor school finances
• Time sheets and employment agreements lacked proper supervisory approval
• Financial statements and accounting ledgers required audit adjustments
• Eligibility for Title I funds for disadvantaged children were not determined through the established criteria
• Debts owed to the management company, or organization responsible for operational oversight, have not been paid
In 2007, Auditor Taylor hosted the first-ever series of financial training workshops for community schools around the state and two events are scheduled for 2009. Sessions are planned for August 14, 2009 at the University of Akron and August 18, 2009 at the Courtyard by Marriott in Springfield, Ohio. The voluntary workshops offer financial, accounting and compliance training to community school sponsors, administrators, fiscal officers, board members and management companies. To date, the classes have served almost 500 attendees.
A copy of the full audit is available online at http://www.auditor.state.oh.us/AuditSearch/Reports/2009/Columbus_Humanities_Arts_and_Technology_Academy_07-Franklin.pdf
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). Since taking office in January 2007, Taylor has identified more than $19.8 million in public funds that were spent illegally and must be repaid.