|BG schools to undergo audit to cut costs|
|Written by MARIE THOMAS BAIRD, Sentinel Education Editor|
|Wednesday, 19 February 2014 11:16|
The Bowling Green Board of Education is requesting an audit of the district, in response to citizens who question how taxpayer money is being spent.
The board voted 3-1 at Tuesday's meeting to have the Auditor of State conduct a performance audit. Lee Hakel cast the "no" vote and Ed Whipple was not present.
Hakel said she would rather have the money spent on the audit go toward all-day kindergarten.
While the cost of an audit won't be known until it is completed, Hakel said the board had received estimates of between $50,000 and $70,000.
She said all-day kindergarten would cost about $194,000 per year.
All-day kindergarten, which has long been on the district's wish list, was put on hold after two levy requests were defeated in 2013.
Derek Merrin, with the state auditor's office, was at the meeting to present Rhonda Melchi, district treasurer, a certificate for another clean audit.
He explained that with an audit, his office would compare Bowling Green's operations to five other districts of similar size and performance.
He called audits a way to "help local governments save money by finding deficits."
The state could review a number of operational areas including human resources, such as salaries, benefits, teacher/pupil ratio and contracts; financial operations; facilities, such as buildings being used at capacity and utility costs; transportation, including fuel purchases, how bus routes are set and whether buses are at capacity; and food service by asking how many students are eating meals and the cost per meal.
Bowling Green does not have to pick all options.
"Our goal is not to come in and tell you everything you're doing wrong," Merrin stated.
The audit also will tell the district what it is doing right, he added.
There was no time frame given as to when the audit would start or how long it would take.
Hakel said she would rather see the money earmarked for an audit be invested in improving the education of the district's younger students.
Board member Paul Walker pointed out the public perception is that the district is not using its money efficiently, as shown by the failure of the last two levy requests.
Board member Ellen Scholl said she's hoping the money saved after the audit will be enough to fund all-day kindergarten.
The board also has moved graduation for 2015 to May 31 at 2 p.m., a Sunday.
The move was considered after parents and athletes asked the board to move it off of Friday to eliminate the choice some athletes have to make over deciding whether to compete in regional events or attend graduation.
"We're doing out best to hold fast to this year's graduation on May 30," said Superintendent Ann McVey.
She said even with the excessive calamity days, she didn't think that date was in jeopardy.
Classes for the 2014-15 school year will start Aug. 20 and the last day for classes for grades up to 11th is June 2, 2015.
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