Old audit still haunting district

A state audit of the Warren County School District from 2007-2008 revealed a “lack of managerial direction and authority resulted in internal control breakdowns in governance, communication and efficient and effective operations within the District.”

The district’s board of directors approved a response and corrective action plan to be sent to the state auditor’s office during a special meeting on Monday.

Administration representatives have indicated that all of the concerns raised have been addressed in the five-year window since the original audit.

“This was a bit unconventional,” Acting Superintendent Amy Stewart said. “The last visit by the state auditors was unconventional as well (as the) response was submitted at the time of the exit. They wanted a second report. (It was) an additional requirement that we really did not anticipate.”

Business Manager Jim Grosch said that the audit was received on March 19 with the second report due 45 days after the day of receipt.

A response by administration was originally submitted to the auditors on Oct. 18, 2010 under the signature of former superintendent Dr. Robert Terrill.

Grosch said on Tuesday, “We just submitted a correction plan that addresses all the recommendations listed. Either everything has been or will be completed by June 30, 2013. Everything but one item is done.”

The auditors enumerated five specific findings against the district.

Errors in pupil transportation pupil counts resulted in overpayments totaling $44,992. The audit alleged that the district did not request or obtain from non-public schools in the county a list of enrolled students, relying instead on the transportation contractors to report such information. The audit alleges that the district failed to accurately count the number of students who were not eligible for state transportation reimbursement.

Lack of managerial direction and authority resulted in internal control breakdowns in governance, communication and efficient and effective operations within the district. “We found the overall governance of the district to be ineffective,” the auditors wrote. “Board members were divided in their actions and took defensive postures by refusing to address internal control issues and thus provided little direction to the administration.” The audit also claims that the district credit card was used for property maintenance and general supplies when procedures stated that credit card use was to be limited to conferences and seminars.

Internal control weaknesses, lack of documentation supporting pupil transportation reimbursements of $6,126,077 and lack of documentation supporting usage of tax exempt fuel. The audit states, “The Pennsylvania Department of Education should consider withholding future pupil transportation reimbursement payments until the district prepares and retains supporting documentation.” The auditors also questioned whether the district’s transportation contracts were in order from a transportation perspective and also inquired as to whether the district maintained a master roster of students transported.

Continuing administrative weaknesses resulted in unverifiable Social Security and Medicare wages for the school years 2007-2008 and 2006-2007.

Continued lack of documentation necessary to verify school bus drivers’ qualifications. The audit claims that required licenses and clearances were not included for all drivers.