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Firm begins school district audits

Two sets of auditors paraded into the South Whidbey School district’s central office Monday to begin separate reviews of the district’s finances.

Auditors from the firm of Moss Adams and the state auditor’s office will be evaluating the district’s finances at the same time. The state audit is performed annually in all school districts.

Following mistakes by a former business manager that revealed a $369,000 shortage in the 2002/2003 fund balance, the South Whidbey Board of Education called for an independent audit by the Seattle firm, Moss Adams.

Described as a performance audit, the project will address four specific areas: the ending fund balance for the 2002-03 year; 2003-04 budget processes and conditions that caused the previous year’s shortfall; overall oversight and reporting, and a look at internal controls.

Total cost of the contract — approved by the board during its Sept. 8 workshop — is $49,000.

A total of seven employees from Moss Adams are identified as being assigned to the project. Hourly rates range for $200 an hour for Tom Krippaehne, director of the project to $125 for a senior consultant. Reimbursable costs in the contract include meals, lodging, parking mileage, other travel, report production and long distance telephone charges.

The scope of the audit was determined by questions from board members who met individually with Krippaehne

The contract and a detailed outline of the scope of work is included in an 18-page document. It provides a schedule of charges for each project: $10,000 to determine the fund balance; $20,000 to look at 20003/2004 budget and 2002/2003 shortfall; $12,000 to evaluate oversight, reporting systems and $7,000 for an audit of internals controls.

A final report is expected in December with the first update to the board scheduled for a Oct. 8 workshop meeting.

What auditors from Moss Adams won’t do is look at the 2002-03 financial statements and 2003-04 district budget numbers.

The firm’s contract is with the South Whidbey Board of Education, so the auditors report directly to the board.

At the same time Washington State Auditor’s office began its annual audit of the district’s 2002/2003 finances audit, including a look at financial statements, financial accounts and transactions to determine whether the financial statements are accurate, and verification of the ending fund balance. Also included in the audit are year-end closing procedures, a review of accuracy of in areas of transportation, enrollment and staff mix, an evaluation of district’s controls relating to financial reporting, and an examination of the district’s process for monitoring financial reporting.

State audits run $75 per hour and is estimated to cost $19,000.

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