State audit finds no problems with Vashon Island School District

The Vashon Island School District recently underwent its annual state audit, and for the fourth year in a row, it received a clean report in all areas evaluated.

The district’s Executive Director of Business and Operations Matt Sullivan said audit “findings,” or problems, are common for many school districts, so going without any since 2013 is worth highlighting.

“It is something to shout ‘Yeah’ about, but it is our standard. We should not operate in any other way,” he said. “It is not glamorous, but it is what we strive for every single year.”

Members of the State Auditors Office took up residence at the school district earlier this year and stayed for six weeks. This year was one of the largest audits the district has had, Sullivan said, and focused on three areas: accountability, assessing how local governments manage, use and safeguard public resources; financial statements, determining if the local governments’ financial statements are accurate and complete, and something called federal “single audit.”

Explaining this topic, Sullivan said that when school districts spend at least $750,000 in federal financial assistance annually, they are assessed on internal controls over federal programs, tests of how those controls are working and tests of compliance with federal requirements. This year, in this regard, the audit examined the Title 1 program, which provides funds for eligible students who need support in reading, writing and math.

The Accountability Audit Report, completed April 2, spans from Sept. 1, 2015, to Aug. 31, 2017. It states that auditors focused their attention on the areas that represented the highest risk of fraud, loss, abuse or noncompliance. Those included ASB fundraising activities at Vashon High School and McMurray Middle School, the financial condition of the district, and open public meeting minutes, among other areas.

“In those selected areas, District operations complied with applicable state laws, regulations, and its own policies, and provided adequate controls over the safeguarding of public resources,” the report states.

The Financial Statements and Federal Single Audit Report, which spanned from Sept. 1, 2016, to Aug. 31, 2017, found no deficiencies or material weaknesses regarding the district’s financial reporting or with the Title 1 federal program it reviewed.

Sullivan noted that no other public entity on the island is audited annually, but for public schools, that is the law.

The audit cost the district $27,000.

Copies of the audit reports are available online through the Office of the State Auditor.

— Susan Riemer

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