Wyandot County -
Auditor of State Mary Taylor released the performance audit of the Mohawk Local School District. The audit identified potential savings of more than $1 million annually.
“This performance audit will assist Mohawk Local School officials in their effort to identify cost-saving opportunities as they continue to work toward long-term financial stability,” Taylor said.
The performance audit was conducted in response to the district’s financial condition. The Mohawk Local School District is projected to have a deficit of more than $5.1 million by fiscal year 2012-13, barring any changes in its revenues or expenditures.
The audit examines the district’s financial systems, human resources, facilities and transportation operations. The audit also commends the district for controlling sick leave use and substitute teacher costs. Sick leave usage is below average and substitute teacher costs have decreased by 34 percent since fiscal year 2005-06.
The audit provides a series of options for Mohawk Local School District officials to consider in order to decrease costs over the next four years. Some of the recommendations include:
• Reducing the number of teachers could save $760,313.
Mohawk Local School District employs more teachers than the state minimum standards. Reducing staffing to more closely reflect state minimum staffing levels will help the district address the projected general fund deficit. However, these reductions may affect its ability to offer the current range of educational programs and should be carefully considered and monitored.
• Reducing the number of education service personnel could save $464,636.
The district employs more education service personnel than the state minimum requirements.
By reducing the number of education service personnel to state minimum staffing requirements, the district would be able to further address its projected deficit.
• Adjusting staff salary schedules through negotiations could save $352,000.
Salary levels for administrative, office/clerical, student services and library staff are higher than other school districts in the region. The district will achieve significant savings by negotiating to limit the annual increase to five percent.
• Achieving target levels of energy efficiency associated with its geothermal system could reduce costs by $121,000 annually.
The district’s geothermal system has not functioned properly since installation. Requiring the responsible contractor to repair the system could reduce the district’s energy costs.
Other recommendations include strategies to improve strategic planning, strengthen formal policies and procedures, improve facility maintenance coordination and increase bus efficiency.
A performance audit reports on the efficiency and effectiveness of government agency or program operations. This is achieved through comparing and benchmarking the agency or program to similar agencies and relevant standards. The results of a performance audit can be used to improve the effectiveness of operations, save taxpayer dollars and make better use of existing resources.
Since taking office, Taylor has released 67 performance audits outlining more than 2,370 recommendations for improvements. Those recommendations, if fully implemented, could result in potential cost savings and revenue enhancements of more than $120 million annually.
A full copy of the report is available online at www.auditor.state.oh.us.
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 $20.4 million in public funds that were spent illegally and must be repaid.