The Kentucky School Boards Association’s news service reports that rules for annual audits of the state’s public school districts are being tightened in the wake of a series of problems uncovered by the Kentucky Auditor of Public Accounts.
Normally, local school districts contract with a private auditing firm to conduct their required annual audit. That can create problems when a district employs just one audit firm over the course of many years.
Those problems came to light when, moving on a series of leads, the Kentucky Auditor of Public Accounts began to examine districts where questionable practices were alleged.
In a number of cases, the state auditor uncovered serious fiscal mismanagement and notable problems with the management of local school districts. Several superintendents resigned in disgrace as a consequence.
In the most serious case, a superintendent pled guilty to federal fraud charges.
Under the new rules, districts will have a hard time using the same audit firm for more than five years in a row. They will have to get special permission from a state agency for such actions.
Much better training to school district staff is also coming. This is especially needed for local school board personnel, who often lack the accounting and auditing type backgrounds needed to insure their local school system’s finances are fully on track and that the public’s school tax dollars are not being siphoned off into inappropriate activities.