May 17, 2007 |

Cheney School District passes state auditor review with minor corrections

By CARA LORELLO

Staff Reporter

Cheney Public Schools received a letter from the state Auditor's Office following the district's April 24 review for the time period between Sept. 1 2004 and Aug. 31, 2006, citing over reporting of Full Time Equivalent (FTE) at the

high school.

The claim, however, turned out to be a misnomer of the school's reporting, as district director of finance and operations, David Sackville-West explained to members of the school board of directors at a May 9 meeting.

The fault was narrowed down to two five-minute pass times in the school's bell schedule happening before school and during lunch that ended up not being included on report documents.

This showed up as a miscalculation in reports that indicated the school's FTE equivalents were at .195, which is below the minimum .2 calculation that represents the 300 minutes a day each student should be in school. FTE calculations are what determine the school's state funding, Sackville-West later explained on May 11.

“In practice, we were meeting our time requirements, but it wasn't being included on our schedule because of the bell pass time,” he said.

“The auditor letter is based on something that wasn't included on a document—it wasn't a material difference.”

The district must now send a correction plan on how they will fix their reporting so that time mix-ups won't be a problem in future audits, a request Sackville-West said won't be difficult to do.

“This has actually been an issue with many districts this year,” he added, explaining the SAO letter response to the miscalculation, which is sent automatically any time a schedule reading falls below the .2 FTE equivalent.

Apart from the management letter, the district overall performed well in this year's federal programs audit, which the schools receive every year and a complete financial audit every two years.

“I [was] pleased to report there were no findings, thanks to the hard work and attention to detail by the business office staff and the bookkeepers, secretaries and administrators throughout the district,” Sackville-West said in his statement to the board on May 9.

Of the rest of the SAO's report, there were no other findings aside from four clerical recommendations, each of which will be addressed and resolved prior to the end of the current fiscal year.

All recommendations from the previous year's audit have also been resolved.

Cara Lorello can be reached at clorello@cheneyfreepress.com

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