East Hawaii News

DOE: Finances in Order, Audit Confirms

April 21, 2015, 1:16 PM HST
* Updated April 21, 11:22 PM
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According to the Hawai’i State Department of Education’s 2014 fiscal year Financial Audit, the department is “doing a better job at keeping its finances in order.”

In the independently conducted report, financial statements of the public school system were analyzed. These statements include operating, capital improvement, and federal funds.

The 2014 fiscal year audit of the DOE was submitted in March to the Federal Audit Clearinghouse, operating on behalf of the Office of Management and Budget.

An objective third-party examination is provided by the DOE’s financial audit. The aduit is completed using the DOE’s financial statements from the recent fiscal year and is coordinated by the State of Hawai’i Office of the Auditor. By choice, the DOE keeps a separate audit that is independent from the State of Hawai’i audit.

“Annual independent audits are crucial to ensure taxpayers’ funds are being monitored and maximized to support teaching and learning in the most efficient way,” said Amy Kunz, DOE Senior Assistance Superintendent and Chief Financial Officer. “These findings validate our financial controls and provide guidance for improvements in some areas.”

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Honolulu-based N&K CPA Inc. published the 65-page audit that reviewed the DOE’s $1.494 billion general fund appropriation for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2014.

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In the audit, it was concluded that internal controls are appropriately structured to prevent or detect financial misstatements. The DOE was found to be in compliance with requirements of major federal programs.

Kunz says that the Office of Fiscal Services is moving forward to address recommendations noted by auditors. Two major suggestions include:

Adjusting the calculation of vacation and sick leave accrual for a small portion of teachers to align with the correct fiscal year.

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Strengthening accounting procedures for new federal grant payments to ensure accurate reporting.

The DOE has increased its internal audits over the past four years in hopes to identify areas in need of improved controls. In making the decision to conduct more frequent internal audits, the DOE is better aligning with the DOE/Board of Education Joint Strategic Plan. In the plan, effective organizational, financial, human, and community resources are called for in support of student success.

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