Audit confirms schools handle funds properly
Accountability is an important component of any organization. One of the ways in which the Carroll County Public School System ensures accountability is by undergoing an independent annual financial audit.
An audit provides the school system and Carroll County citizens with a set of checks and balances to ensure the school system's revenues and expenditures are handled in accordance with standard accounting practices.
It also provides insight on areas where the school system needs to make improvements.
According to Maryland law, every board of education is required to provide an annual audit of its financial transactions and accounts.
The audit must be conducted by a certified public accountant or a partnership of certified public accountants who are licensed by the State Board of Public Accountancy and approved by the Maryland superintendent of schools. It must follow specific standards and regulations adopted by the Maryland State Board of Education.
The results of the audit must be reported within three months after the close of the fiscal year to the Board of Education of Carroll County, the state superintendent and the Board of Commissioners of Carroll County. The results are a matter of public record.
Here in Carroll County, our annual financial audit is conducted by the accounting firm Wooden and Benson.
Preliminary work on the audit begins each year in May. The majority of the audit takes place toward the end of July.
A team of accountants spends approximately eight weeks conducting the field work, with the goal of completing the audit by Sept. 30.
As part of the process, two audits are conducted.
One is referred to as a single audit and the other is referred to as the independent auditor's report, financial statements, supplemental information and report required by government auditing standards.
The single audit reviews federal grants and whether or not the school system is in compliance with their regulations.
During the audit, representatives from Wooden and Benson actually visit schools and verify that the system is in compliance and has met all requirements.
With the independent auditor's report, the auditors review expenditures and revenues, look at assets and liabilities on the balance sheet and review records and documents for accuracy and appropriateness.
The audit looks at the efficiency and practices of the financial division and also includes the payroll and purchasing offices.
The independent auditor's report must be presented to the Maryland State Department of Education in September, with the single audit due by December. Both audits are presented to the board of education in November, and the board is provided with a written summary of all articles of financial compliance or areas of concern.
The Carroll County Public School System has received exceptionally favorable financial audits over the past several years. These audits reflect very positively on our accounting practices and on how the school system receives and allocates its resources.
According to Wooden and Benson, the results of their tests did not disclose any reportable conditions in internal control or any instances of noncompliance.
In our most recent report, presented to the board Nov. 8, Wooden and Benson concluded, "In our opinion, the general purpose financial statements ... present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Board of Education of Carroll County as of June 30, 2000, and the result of its operations for the year then ended, in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles."
Our school staff is to be commended for their efforts in making sure the school system is in good financial standing.
The fact that we have received so many favorable audits in large part is because of their hard work and diligence.
The audit is public information and therefore is available for review by any interested citizen.
If you would like to review a copy of the financial audit, please contact the school system's Public Information Office at 410-751-3020.
C. Scott Stone
The writer is president of the Carroll County Board of Education.
It's time to raise pay for federal workers
Have you heard that the budget is balanced and budget surpluses are likely for the future?
So you would think that now is the time to pay America's public sector employees a fair wage.
But the White House has again said the nation can't afford to pay federal employees what they are due because it might damage the economy and trigger inflation.
Indeed, since taking office, President Clinton, with congressional approval, has given federal employees significantly smaller raises than they are due under the formula in the Federal Pay Comparability Act (FEPCA).