Thursday, July 12, 2001

CPS may add training in finances

By Jennifer Mrozowski
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Cincinnati Public Schools officials are proposing more accounting training for school principals, secretaries and school-store cashiers after reviewing a state audit of the district's finances.

        Such training, according to the state auditor, would help prevent theft or diversion of monies in school stores.

        The audit was issued Feb. 12 for the fiscal year July 1, 1999, to June 30, 2000. The district's finance committee met Wednesday to discuss improving some school accounting practices.

        Overall, district officials praised the audit.

        “Every year we have a state audit,” said board vice president Lynn Marmer. “Every year there are a few things that pop up.”

        The auditor found student stores at Winton Place, Midway, Kilgour and Mount Washington schools were among those at schools not in compliance with regulations requiring public officials to make timely deposits of money received.

        District Treasurer Michael Geoghegan recommended starting random surprise audits of specified activities of schools, such as how schools account for receipts and maintain student stores.

        An additional in-service training day should be held midway through the school year to reinforce procedures with school staff, he said.

        Board member Catherine Ingram said principals need to be more aware of the accounting practices in their schools.

        The audit also found a student trip in which an adviser was given one free ticket for every six students who signed up, for a total of five free tickets. Some of the tickets were used by family members or other teachers.

        “We should have a policy that does not allow family members (of school staff) to use the tickets,” said board member Harriet Russell.

        The committee discussed instead using free tickets by private travel vendors to reduce overall costs of student tickets, to allow children to attend who otherwise couldn't afford it or to provide more chaperones.

        Any changes proposed by the finance committee would be voted on later by the board of education.


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