Wood Lane considers audit
Written by MARIE THOMAS BAIRD Sentinel Education Editor
Wednesday, 30 October 2013 10:45
The Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities is considering conducting an audit to determine if there is programming or staffing that can be cut to contain expenses.
Donovan O'Neil, a regional liaison with the Auditor of State's office, spent some time during the board's meeting Oct. 21 to discuss how an audit will make sure the board's objectives are met in an economical and effective manner.
The overall goal, he stated, is to save taxpayer dollars.
The board's programs include Wood Lane School and Industries, Community Employment Services, as well as residential services in numerous group homes in the community.
The auditor office's goal, O'Neil said, is to find cost savings that could lead to a balanced budget.
Audits save about $23 for every $1 spent, he said.
Funds for a WCBDD audit could come from the state's Leverage for Efficiency, Accountability and Performance (LEAP) Fund, which makes a loan to cover the cost of the audit. The loan would be paid back from the savings seen after the audit.
There is no set cost to an audit, O'Neil stated. The cost is based on the scope of work done. He estimated an audit for the Wood County agency would cost $50,000 to $60,000.
Common audits include those evaluating economy and efficiency, program achievement and design, service levels and priorities for resource allocation, and operational costs and workloads. The audit may identify cost savings, duplicative or under-used services that could be reduced or eliminated, and gaps and overlaps in services.
It could take 12 to 18 months to complete an audit, O'Neil said.
"We can do some further research," said board President Joe Catalano.
Superintendent Melanie Stretchbery said the board will vote on a resolution in November to request additional information on an audit.
Also during the meeting, the board was updated on collaboration with Bowling Green State University's EDIS 4240 class within the School of Intervention Services/College of Education and Human Development that has mostly graduate-level special education students working with Wood Lane parents and families, who are imbedded in the classroom.
"The experience for the students and the parents is huge," said Stretchbery.
Wood Lane also has collaborated with a BGSU's Fine Arts Department's service learning project that will have university photography students doing photo biographies of individuals with disabilities.
"It's a win-win all around," said Catalano.
Also at the meeting, a dozen employees explained the Good Life program that all employees and board members will go through in the next 18 months.
The program is an expansion of the Wood Lane culture that is more specific that its positive behavior intervention.
Vic Gable, employment services coordinator, also reported that Lita Campbell, a Wood Lane's Bridges to Transition coordinator, was one of three in the state to meet the job placement benchmark set by the Opportunity for Ohioans with Disabilities Agency, which oversees the Bridges program.
There are 40 counties in Ohio participating in the program, and Campbell reached the benchmark of placing five people in jobs.
A second county coordinator, Katie Kramer, missed meeting that benchmark, but by just weeks. She had placed four people by the deadline.
According to Gable, Campbell and Kramer accounted for 19 percent of all job placements in the state for the year ending Sept. 30. There were 51 individuals placed in jobs in the state.