BRIEF HISTORY OF THE 8.3M:
Over 9 months ago, the School Board was advised by Superintendent Benson and our finance staff, that there was a salary lapse surplus on our books that there was really no explanation for. While salary lapses are fairly normal due to higher end employees leaving and new staff hiring on at a lower rate, this dollar amount was above anything that most school divisions would every realize. Once we were made aware of this, the Superintendent reached out to members of the Board of Supervisors and the County Administrator to explain the anomaly. As you can imagine, the School Board had many questions, and were immediately prepared to take action. Several school board members familiar with forensic audits, reached out to Federal and State Agencies for their help, but to no avail. In the absence of any help from other governmental agencies, we eventually decided on hiring a firm that specialized in deep dive financial audits and worked through our legal firm that ultimately ended up handling all of the audit details. This practice ensured that the process was handled by an impartial 3rd party -- school board hands remained off of the process and ensured a fair and clean audit would prevail. The audit firm had no knowledge of the finance department employees, school board members or any relationships between the two. Our goal was to ensure a third party, independent, deep dive audit that explained to us how this might have transpired. We were encouraged by the Board of Supervisors to release what the firm had found thus far - and though the firm has only gotten half way through budget year 2013, the school board asked legal counsel to have the audit firm prepare an interim report as requested by the Supervisors. The interim forensic audit report can be viewed here.
SHARED SERVICES AGREEMENT:
Another issue in the news, and now tied to the transfer of the $8.3M, is the Shared Services Initiative that both the School board and Board of Supervisors unanimously agreed to via a Joint Resolution back in June of 2014.
You can find the Shared Services Recommendations here: Shared_Services_Study-Results.pdf
RECOMMENDATIONS BY THE CONSULTANT FOR ROLLING OUT SUCCESSFUL SHARED SERVICES:
This release of the Interim Forensic Audit report became the central impetus behind the Board of Supervisors reallocating that money back to the School Board. However, that discussion changed to reflect the following: