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2005 OLSD Performance Audit

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5 pages
September 20, 2005 Olentangy Board of Education: Recently, the Finance and Audit committee was charged with reviewing the results of the March 1, 2005 Performance Audit completed by the State of Ohio. Our committee was specifically tasked with reviewing the Financial Systems and Human Resources sections of the report. We spent time as a team over the past few months reviewing the audit in detail. In some cases, the audit findings were very concise and offered good suggestions for improvements. In other cases, the identified issues and associated recommendations warranted further study. We are all grateful to Treasurer Andy Geistfeld, Assistant Treasurer Becky Jenkins, and other members of the administration and Board who discussed all of the audit recommendations openly and with an attitude that made our discussion of collective ideas for improvement as productive as possible. Based on our review of the audit, we are pleased to offer the following opinions on the audit recommendations made by the State. Finance and Audit Committee David Black Jeff Boothman Ann Marie Hunker Sue Mahler - Chair Mike Tracy Financial Systems Audit Recommendations Recommendation 2.1 The District should seek to provide public access to financial information via its website. The District should publish budget documents, financial reports and other useful financial information on its website. Committee Opinion 2.1 We agree ...
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September 20, 2005
Olentangy Board of Education:
Recently, the Finance and Audit committee was charged with reviewing the results of the March 1,
2005 Performance Audit completed by the State of Ohio.
Our committee was specifically tasked
with reviewing the Financial Systems and Human Resources sections of the report.
We spent time as a team over the past few months reviewing the audit in detail.
In some cases,
the audit findings were very concise and offered good suggestions for improvements.
In other
cases, the identified issues and associated recommendations warranted further study.
We are all
grateful to Treasurer Andy Geistfeld, Assistant Treasurer Becky Jenkins,
and other members of
the administration and Board who discussed all of the audit recommendations openly and with an
attitude that made our discussion of collective ideas for improvement as productive as possible.
Based on our review of the audit, we are pleased to offer the following opinions on the audit
recommendations made by the State.
Finance and Audit Committee
David Black
Jeff Boothman
Ann Marie Hunker
Sue Mahler - Chair
Mike Tracy
Financial Systems Audit Recommendations
Recommendation 2.1
The District should seek to provide public access to financial information via its website.
The
District should publish budget documents, financial reports and other useful financial information
on its website.
Committee Opinion 2.1
We agree with the recommendation as stated in the audit.
Since the time that the performance
audit was conducted during 2004, the Treasurer has determined and implemented an appropriate
scope of documents to be posted and updated on the District website.
Recommendation 2.2
In conjunction with 2.1, the published five-year financial forecast and the accompanying
assumptions or notes should be expanded to include the detailed historic and projected information
and explanatory comments used by the Treasurer.
The District should consider using its website
to provide the public with information beyond that which is required by ODE.
Committee Opinion 2.2
We agree that the Treasurer should use the District website to provide additional information to the
public, where appropriate.
Since the time that the performance audit was conducted in 2004, the
Treasurer has posted to the website additional historic and projected information and explanatory
comments
Recommendation 2.3
Olentangy LSD should prepare and distribute a Popular Annual Financial Report (PAFR) in
conjunction with the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).
Committee Opinion 2.3
We agree with this recommendation as presented, given that our District performs at such a high
level.
However, this should only be done if time and resources are available.
Recommendation 2.4
Olentangy LSD should closely examine spending patterns in several areas (see Table 2-9 and
Table 2-10) and consider allocating monies towards programs and priorities which have the
greatest impact on learning outcomes and proficiency test results.
In addition, Olentangy LSD
should analyze cost reductions recommended in the human resources facilities and technology
sections of this report to increase operational and financial efficiency.
Committee Opinion 2.4
We agree that all expenses should be closely reviewed.
We will address specific
recommendations later in this report.
Recommendation 2.5
Olentangy LSD should analyze and use the proposed financial forecast outlined in Table 2-11 to
evaluate the recommendations presented with this performance audit and determine the impact of
related cost savings on its financial condition.
Olentangy LSD should also consider implementing
the recommendations in this audit to improve its current and future financial situation.
In addition,
the District should update its forecast on an ongoing basis as critical financial issues are
addressed.
Committee Opinion 2.5
As directed by the Olentangy Board of Education, the Finance & Audit Committee have used the
financial forecast outlined in Table 2-11 to evaluate the performance audit recommendations.
These analyses are detailed in this report as well as a separate report on health insurance.
From our observations and discussions we have concluded that the Treasurer and his staff make
timely updates of the financial forecast as soon as a material change in the District’s condition is
possible due to a change in enrollment projections, tax collections or other events.
Human Resources Audit Recommendations
Recommendation 3.1
Olentangy LSD should monitor its hiring practices in the areas of central and site based
administrators.
In addition, the District should reduce the number of clerical staff per school
building to a level similar to the peers.
Altering the criterion for staffing these positions could result
in a redirection of resources toward education programs that directly benefits students.
Committee Opinion 3.1
The audit recommendation was made based on the number of administrators per student.
For our
District, we are negatively impacted by the fact that during the time of the audit, we are opening
two new elementary schools and a high school that were not yet at capacity.
Furthermore, we are
negatively impacted by the decision to have an assistant principal in each school.
Given these
facts as well as the fact that our district is growing at a rate of approximately 1,000 new students
per year (10% - 12% annually), we feel that staffing levels are reasonable and comparisons on a
per student basis will improve as schools operate closer to full capacity and growth slows in the
future.
Regarding clerical staff per school building, our District’s level may be higher than its peers due to
differences in coding between districts.
We recommend further analysis in this area.
Recommendation 3.2
Olentangy LSD should monitor special education teaching ratios to ensure that staffing is adjusted
appropriately to meet student needs based on individual educational plans (IEPs) and the District’s
special education model.
The District should also consider reducing Extra Service Personnel
(ESP) staff to levels more comparable to the peer average.
In future negotiations, the District
should seek to eliminate contractual language regarding required staffing levels for librarian/media
specialists and ESP staff to facilitate its ability to achieve staffing levels that are more comparable
with peers.
Committee Opinion 3.2
Olentangy’s ratio of special education is very close to the peer average.
We agree that the District
should monitor these staffing levels against the changing requirements in this area.
No change is
recommended.
With regard to ESP teachers and Librarians/Media Specialists, we have begun to examine this
area in greater detail.
With specific regard to the Librarians and Media Specialists, the district
completed some very quantitative research in 2002 to support the decision to have a full time
librarian and a part time aide in each elementary school.
Based on the data, which linked test
score performance with library staffing, we are comfortable that Librarian/Media Specialist staffing
is at the lowest possible level required to support excellent performance achievement as measured
by State testing.
Regarding art, music, and PE teachers
,
a link between student performance
achievement and staffing is more difficult to assess.
Furthermore, these areas have qualitative
benefits to children that are difficult to measure.
Therefore, we recommend that further analysis be
performed that evaluates
utilization
of these ESP teachers.
This can be performed by our
Committee more effectively after the District has completed their “bottom-up” analysis of programs
that will be completed during the 2005-06 school year.
Recommendation 3.3
Olentangy LSD should implement a program to reduce sick leave use that involves improved
tracking of sick leave usage, provision of additional training on managing sick leave usage, setting
benchmarks for sick leave use, and coordinating policies to encourage staff attendance.
Committee Opinion 3.3
We agree that sick leave usage is slightly above the peer group.
We recommend setting a target
for sick leave usage on a per classified staff basis.
The district should continue to review sick
leave usage.
Recommendation 3.4
Olentangy LSD should explore options for purchasing health insurance that ensure competitive
rates are being obtained.
In addition, the District should negotiate with its certified bargaining unit
to change the base plan offered to employees in an effort to reduce overall health care spending.
Committee Opinion 3.4
Our Committee is preparing a separate report regarding health insurance.
We agree that the base
health care plan offered is more expensive than other peer districts in 2004 and efforts to reduce or
cost-share the base plan should be made during the next bargaining session.
Recommendation 3.5
During future contract negotiations, Olentangy LSD should seek to negotiate changes in health
insurance coverage and premium payments.
The District should negotiate to require all full-time
employees, who are not contributing toward insurance, or are contributing at a lower rate, to pay
10% of their health care premiums.
The District should require all employees to pay a portion of
the monthly premium costs to bring District practices in-line with average employee contributions
compiled by SERB.
Establishing employee contributions that are more in-line with identified
benchmarks will help offset annual increases in health care costs.
Committee Opinion 3.5
Our Committee is preparing a separate report regarding health insurance. We agree that all
employees should pay a portion of the cost of their health insurance premiums per the Audit
recommendation.
Recommendation 3.6
The District should negotiate with its Teachers Association to allow more flexibility in making
changes to its health insurance plan.
This will provide the District increased flexibility to address,
in a cooperative manner with staff, additional alternatives to contain the growing cost of employee
health care.
Committee Opinion 3.6
We agree with the recommendation as presented
.
Recommendation 3.7
Olentangy LSD should review its vision insurance plan and seek to obtain more competitive rates
by adjusting benefits to be more comparable to peers.
Olentangy should also seek to increase its
co-payment to achieve premium costs that are comparable to peers.
Committee Opinion 3.7
We agree with the recommendation as presented.
Recommendation 3.8
Olentangy LSD should seek to negotiate changes in benefits for certified employees in the areas of
professional leave, sick leave accrual, eligibility for severance pay, amount of severance pay and
notice for personal leave.
Further, the District should seek to negotiate to remove language
regarding class size and minimum staffing levels for certain areas.
These contractual
requirements are not found in peer district bargaining agreements and are costly to Olentangy
LSD.
Committee Opinion 3.8
We agree with the recommendation as presented.
Recommendation 3.9
Olentangy LSD should attempt, in future negotiations with its classified bargaining units, to bring
employee benefits to a level that is comparable to the peer districts.
The District should adjust
work hours to exclude the lunch period, which will increase staff productivity.
The District should
also seek to eliminate minimum call-in hours (see Facilities section).
Lastly, the District should
seek to reduce the maximum number of days paid out at retirement, as well as paid holidays.
Committee Opinion 3.9
We agree with the recommendation as presented but defer to the Development Committee for
recommendations relating to the Facilities section.
Recommendation 3.10
As part of its long-term technology planning, Olentangy LSD should consider purchasing a
comprehensive human resource information system (HRIS) to assist in managing its growing
human resource needs.
A comprehensive HRIS will help Olentangy LSD better manage and
coordinate benefits administration, recruiting and hiring, and other HR functions.
Committee Opinion 3.10
We agree with the recommendation as presented; however, we recommend that additional
analyses be performed to determine if the benefits from this program will outweigh the upfront and
annual costs of the package.
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