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DeKalb Schools works to address weaknesses mentioned in 2022 audit

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DeKalb Schools works to address weaknesses mentioned in 2022 audit

DeKalb County School District Administration and Instructional Complex on Mtn. Industrial Blvd. in Stone Mountain. Photo by Dean Hesse

DeKalb County, GA — The DeKalb Board of Education’s Audit Committee met Nov. 8 to review the corrective actions taken on the DeKalb County School District’s Fiscal Year 2022 audit. 

The audit committee also discussed progress on the FY 2023 audit, the status of the Special Purpose Location Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) IV and V audits, and the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) audit.

Chief Financial Officer Byron Schueneman said that the FY 2022 audit was unmodified, meaning a “clean” audit with no misstatements of fact, but that the report noted some deficiencies in internal control processes, information technology controls, and information conversion to the new MUNIS financial information system, among other things.

Schueneman said that the biggest single item that still requires conversion is payroll for DCSD’s 14,000 employees. Schueneman said that payroll conversion for the district’s 12-month employees is complete as of Oct. 15, though not without some challenges. Schuneman said that conversion for the district’s 10-month employees should go more smoothly.

Books were closed for FY 2023 on Sept. 26. An Audit kickoff meeting with Mauldin & Jenkins was held on Oct. 31.

Schueneman said that the district is in the process of receiving an audit request list from Mauldin & Jenkins.

“I’m here to tell you that it’s long. It’s very, very long,” Schueneman said. He added that preparation of financial statements  and audit engagement is scheduled to begin Dec.1, and the final report will be presented in March 2024. Schueneman said that future reports are likely to be available much more quickly.

Director of Internal Audits & Compliance Joel Thibodeaux said that the completion date of the SPLOST IV and V audit, which is being conducted by Plante Moran, has been moved back to April 2024. Thibodeaux said that the change in tracking systems is complicating the process somewhat, as is the volume of documents that are not digitized. Relevant documents will be retrieved from storage for Plante Moran.

Thibodeaux added that the audit process is already revealing ways to streamline the district’s processes. In response to a question from board member Whitney McGinnis, he said that change order documents will show what work was completed versus what was originally planned.

McGinnis said that when items are removed due to budget constraints, it sometimes leads to confusion.

Thibodeaux said that data collection and analytics for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act fund is complete, and will be instructive in the audit of ESSER going forward. The audit is being conducted by FORVIS, Inc, It began in April 2023 and is scheduled to be completed Feb. 2024.

In other news, Thibodeaux said that the district plans to conduct school audits after a two-year hiatus due to COVID. The process will begin with high schools, both because they have more financial activity than elementary and middle schools, and in order to comply with accreditation requirements. The audits will be conducted by DCSD staff.

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