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March 13, 2012 Published in Schools, Top Stories

Alexandria School Board Responds To CIP Audit Findings

ACPS School Board Chair Sheryl Gorsuch (Courtesy Photo)

The Alexandria City School Board has reviewed the CIP Report recommendations and has asked the Superintendent for an independent compliance audit of financial controls within 45 days.


"The Board takes this external CIP report very seriously," said Board Chairman Gorsuch. "We are keenly aware of our fiduciary responsibilities and have asked for a follow-up audit to confirm that strong internal controls, as well as checks and balances are in place.

"We were deeply concerned when we learned about the CIP issues last fall, and we have worked closely with the Superintendent and our School Board attorney, John Cafferky, to uncover and swiftly correct any deficiencies. No monies are missing--our tax dollars are safe. We have seen no evidence of personal gain. Although some procedures were not followed, our internal systems did catch the irregularities. All approved CIP projects can now be completed and we can return to our business of educating children," Gorsuch said.

The School Board has taken numerous actions in this CIP review process:

-The School Board attorney represented the Board in all interviews with facility, finance and accounting employees, as well as key City staff, and interacted directly with the independent accounting firm, Robinson, Farmer, Cox Associates.

-The School Board recommended additional procedural steps during the process of verifying invoices from the projects in question, and has begun review of board fiscal policies in light of the recent situation. The Board relies on the advice of independent auditors and the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report to review financial operations. The Board will have those reports reviewed as well.

-Many of the audit report’s recommendations have already been implemented. Internal controls have been strengthened. Although the board does not comment on specific personnel matters, the facilities and finance staff involved no longer work for Alexandria City Public Schools.

The Superintendent will present the next quarterly progress report on CIP projects, including any items temporarily deferred from last year, at the March 22 Board meeting. "We expect this report to confirm that there is adequate funding available to complete all outstanding projects," said Gorsuch.

"We will retain the public trust by ensuring that all Report recommendations have been implemented, and we will follow up with a compliance audit. We are confident our experienced interim CFO, Stacey Johnson, and her staff will report any issues immediately to the Superintendent and the Board. She will work closely with City staff to correct any miscommunication, prevent procedural errors and ensure Board policies are followed."

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