School and county audits scrutinized

“It looks at every aspect of an organization,” Ullenbruch said.

At the Board of Supervisors meeting Wednesday (June 20) School Superintendent Gena Keller told supervisors Fluvanna schools have been on the state schedule for a School Efficiency Review for at least two years.

“We’re in the queue and could possibly be reviewed during FY2013, as early as September if the school board is interested,” Keller said.

She suggested the review could take the place of the adversarial audit.

The efficiency review is in-depth and examines actual operations including: administration, financial and technology management, purchasing, education service and delivery costs, special education, human resources, nutrition, transportation and facility use and management, Keller said.

The process is thorough, done by experts in the field and follow a standard protocol. It could take up to six months to complete, she said.

“It’s rigorous and in-depth,” Keller said. “It behooves us to be extremely efficient to plan three to five years ahead. We want to go full throttle with this.”

Board Chairman Shaun Kenney asked how much it would cost.

Keller said reviews typically run between $65,000 and $70,000, but Fluvanna is responsible for only half of that. The $35,000 wouldn’t be due until FY2014, she said.

“And will you be asking us to pay for that?” Kenney asked.

Keller said it would be put in the school’s FY2014 budget, so, yes.

County Administrator Steve Nichols suggested the board to let the state review the schools before they pay for an adversarial audit.

“It (the School Efficiency Review) is much more comprehensive than the way we were thinking about,” Nichols said.

Supervisor Don Weaver (Cunningham) asked if the SER would be objective.

“Will it be independent enough?” Weaver said.

Keller said Charlottesville City schools had an SER in 2009 and Louisa had one in 2006.

She said anyone could look at the results of those reviews online.

“They also tell you what you’re not doing well,” Keller said.

Kenney pointed out that the schools didn’t need board approval to get the SER, nevertheless, he thought it was a good idea.

“It’s the best money you can spend,” Kenney said.

Ullenbruch said he was interested in the county being audited as well.

Nichols said the yearly audit was scheduled for August, but with five new directors coming on board, that was like having an adversarial audit.

“I love auditors,” Nichols said. “I think they make us better even when they’re jerks. I wouldn’t’ mind having an auditor, but we’re the audit team.”

Nichols said since he started in April, he’s been going over all policies and procedures as well as the books. The new hires have been doing the same thing.

While the Board is still interviewing for the Director of Public Works, new hires include Planning Director Allyson Finchum, Parks and Recreation Director Jason Smith, Finance Director Barbara Horlacher and Human Resources Director Gail Parrish.

The board decided to wait for the results of the yearly audit and Nichols report before paying an outside group to conduct an adversarial audit of the county.

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