BGPS gets clean financial audit for seventh consecutive year
For the seventh straight year, Battle Ground Public Schools has received a clean audit from the Washington State Auditor’s Office showing that the district has safeguarded public resources. The audit examined the areas of accountability, financial statements, and federal grant compliance for the district’s fiscal year from Sept. 1, 2019 to Aug. 31, 2020. Due to the size of its enrollment and annual budget, the district undergoes a thorough financial audit every year.
Auditors reviewed Battle Ground’s payroll, purchases and public works, accounts payable, use of restricted funds, establishment of local revenue and expenditure accounts, tracking of theft-sensitive assets (such as computers and other technology equipment), and cash receipting.
The report concluded that the district provided adequate controls over the safeguarding of public resources, the district complied with laws and regulations, and that there were no internal control deficiencies.
“It takes a team effort to ensure that we are using public funds responsibly,” said superintendent Mark Ross. “As always, our leadership team is committed to being efficient and transparent with public funds, and seven years of clean audits assures the public that we’re responsible with the funds we receive.”
“I’d like to thank the hard working, dedicated staff working in our business office and Human Resources departments,” said Denny Waters, BGPS’ Deputy Superintendent. “It takes tremendous teamwork and transparency to get through the audit process, and I am proud of district staff for how they represent Battle Ground Public Schools and safeguard public funding.”
The State Auditor’s Office audits school districts annually as part of its efforts to track public money and provide essential accountability and transparency for district operations. Their report states “The Office of the Washington State Auditor takes seriously our role of providing state and local governments with assurance and accountability as the independent auditor of public accounts. In this way, we strive to help government work better, cost less, deliver higher value and earn greater public trust.”
In a typical year, BGPS employees work side-by-side with state auditors for about four weeks, producing reams of financial statements and budget data. This year, the audit was conducted remotely for health and safety reasons, which slowed down the process considerably. The audit process began on Dec. 7 and was just completed this week.
In addition to the annual state audit, Battle Ground Public Schools also has a formal Audit Committee that reviews district expenditures on a monthly basis. District leadership proposed this additional layer of fiscal oversight several years ago.
The Audit Committee, which was the first of its kind in the state, comprises two school district board members, the district’s Chief Financial Officer, and a staff member from the district’s Business Services office. The committee meets monthly to go over district expenditures including vendor invoices, payroll and timesheets. Committee members discuss the expenditures, ask questions, and pull supporting documentation. The committee reports its findings to the board at regular meetings.
“A record of accountability is critical to demonstrating our commitment to running an efficient district,” said Meagan Hayden, BGPS’ Chief Financial Officer. “In addition to the annual audit, our board and superintendent have taken initiative and decided that conducting a monthly review of the district’s expenditures would be an effective way to maintain financial accountability.”
The final reports for Battle Ground’s 2019-20 audits are available on the State Auditor’s Office website and include the following:
- Accountability Report: Examines the use and safeguarding of public resources from fraud, loss, or abuse. Looks at compliance with state laws and regulations, internal policies and procedures, and internal controls. The report looks at the district’s use of “restricted funds” (meaning that money that is allocated for a specific use has to be used for that purpose). Also tracks and monitors theft of sensitive assets like computers and other tech equipment. View the Accountability Report here.
- Financial Statements Report: Provides an opinion on whether financial statements are presented fairly and in accordance with the applicable reporting framework. Examines records for fraud and/or large errors or misstatements.
- Federal Single Audit Report: Required when a district spends more than $750,000 annually in federal assistance funding and determines compliance with federal requirements. View the Financial Statements and Federal Single Audit Report here.