During Oracle’s March 25 School Board District meeting, the Board and audience received a presentation at 5:30 p.m. by the Auditor General staff. Audits are scheduled as routine business at all school districts. The staff explained what audits do and don’t do. They do not tell school districts how to correct anything that may be out of compliance. They examine fluctuations, compliance procedures of grants and other processes and review reports. In essence they do three audits, state compliance, and single audits to examine federal program compliance for internal controls. They do not give their opinion. Lastly, they review all financial statements for state and federal processes of money coming in and going out. Within the programs they examine two areas, risk assessment and the dollars spent. Some programs are tested every three years.
This year Special Education and the Special Education Jobs Fund were under review, i.e. disbursements, payroll, cash and balances and revenue. An unqualified statement is the best a district can obtain and this was achieved by the Oracle School District. The statement is intended to discuss and analyze the audit in a readable format.
Last year two findings were identified and the district has corrected them: compensation leave and the USFR required by the state to keep tabs on attendance. On a final note the lead auditor mentioned that on average 15 comments (findings) were identified in many school district audit reports, the auditors applauded the district’s compliance record and offered “kudos” to the administration and staff.
One of the highlights of the board meeting was the presentation of three students, Nathanial Benavidez, Robert Allison, and Julia Tellez. Julia is a seventh grade student and a product of Mountain Vista’s accelerated program. Julia has excelled in the countywide spelling bee placing second and third the past two years. Dennis Blauser, Mountain Vista Principal, introduced them along with their parents.
Other important discussion items were discussions on the future of the Oracle Ridge Learning Center and whether the program could be funded in the future, approval of the School District’s Strategic Plan and a commitment to review the District Policy Manual, and to deal with previous misperceptions voiced by individuals regarding the school district audit and moving forward to build support for the override that provides funding for essentials that were unfunded by the state previous to the override. Passing the override will maintain important funding to continue delivery of the curriculum and putting students first on the agenda of education. The board plans to provide a description of specific uses of the override monies. A large percentage of the school districts in our state presently seek overrides to pay salaries and other things critical to educating our children. The community will be hearing more about the override and possible budgetary constraints as the board members roll up their sleeves and buckle down to problem solving.
/s/ Alicia S. Bristow
Past School Board Member