Mt. Vernon Register-News

December 13, 2013

District 80 to undergo state audit

By TRAVIS MORSE
travis.morse@register-news.com

---- — MT. VERNON — A portion of District 80's finances will soon undergo a specialized audit by the Illinois State Board of Education.

Superintendent Mike Green said the ISBE conducts these audits on districts periodically and it's not a cause for concern.

It has been several years since District 80's last specialized audit. The previous one resulted in no findings, Green said.

“It's something that we're used to, to having our records and our books examined,” Green said. “They move on from district to district. They just make sure the money's spent the way it was intended to be spent.”

Green announced the upcoming audit at Wednesday night's meeting of the District 80 Board of Education.

He said the audit will examine how the district utilizes certain state and federal funding it receives annually.

Specifically, the audit will focus on the district's use of Title I, II and IV funds and the Pre-K Grant for fiscal year 2012-2013. It will also cover transportation funding, special education funding and general state aid for fiscal year 2011-2012.

Title I funding is used to give extra assistance to students struggling in reading and math. Title II funds are mostly used for teacher salaries and benefits. Title IV funding is made up of after-school grants.

In 2012-2013, District 80 received $932,413 in Title I funding; $178,952 in Title II funding; $380,000 in Title IV funding; and about $1.2 million for the Pre-K Grant.

In 2011-2012, the district received $945,830 in transportation funding; $634,651 in special education funding; and roughly $5.3 million in general state aid.

The specialized audit differs from the district's regular annual audit, which is a more general review of the district's finances. District 80's recent annual audit turned up no negative findings.

Green said the specialized audit will take place in the next 45 days.

As part of the process, state auditors will visit the District 80 office and examine checks and other records to ensure state and federal funds are being used properly.

“There are rules when you get this grant money (for) what you can spend it on,” Green said. “You tell them what you're going to do with the money. They come down and see what you actually did.”

Green said district officials will be well-prepared for the audit when it occurs.

“We'll get those documents and (the auditors) will be in here for like a week or two until they're satisfied that all their questions are answered,” Green said.

Ron Daniels, the Jefferson-Hamilton counties Regional Superintendent of Schools, said it's common for school districts to be chosen at random for this kind of audit.

Sometimes, if there are major changes at a district — such as a drastic rise in the average daily attendance — it will send up a “red flag” and the district will be targeted for an audit, Daniels said.

An upswing in attendance would affect the level of general state aid a district would receive.

Most of the time, though, the districts are selected at random, Daniels said. Three other schools in Jefferson County underwent audits of this sort in the last year, he said.

“It's just a routine, random selection of schools and programs,” Daniels said.