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Washington State Auditor: No Findings From 2019-20 KSD Financial Audit

On an annual basis, the State Auditor's Office (SAO) performs financial and accountability audits for Washington school districts.  At a special meeting of the Kent School District Board of Directors on Tuesday, June 22, 2021, Audit Managers from the Office of the Washington State Auditor shared the positive results of their September 1, 2019, through August 31, 2020 (FY20) financial audit.

For FY20: there were no findings from the Accountability or Financial and Federal Audit. This marks the third straight year of audits in KSD without a single finding.

Audit Findings are issued when SAO has a "significant concern" about an issue under review, which may include financial management or internal controls. There was one audit finding in the audit of FY14 related to Race To The Top and one finding in the audit of FY17 pertaining to Title I.

Management Letters are formal recommendations about processes that assist in improving internal controls and prevent future findings. SAO will typically review the items listed in the subsequent audit to ensure that practices have changed. For example, in the FY14 audit, there was one item related to credit card purchases. In the FY18 audit, there were three issues addressed: inter-fund loan procedures,  capital fund staffing charges, and property tax revenue recognition. There have been no management letter items since the audit of FY18.

Exit Items are informal recommendations to align with best practice or correct control deficiencies.  This year, SAO issued four recommendations.  SAO does not follow up on exit items from previous audits. However, as a learning organization, we take exit items seriously. In some instances, we have already identified and changed the practice because audits happen a year later. This is the longest document of the three types of audit results communication. The list of items varies by year and is too lengthy to discuss here. Please read more about the exit items in the link below.

Though the annual audit is required by state law, the charges for the audit process are paid for by KSD out of the general fund. The costs of the audits have increased from $77,819 for FY14 to $90,174 for FY19. KSD budgeted $80,000 for the FY20 audit, and SAO believes the actual charges will be within that approximate range.

In recent years, the positive audit outcomes are thanks to the strategic reorganization of staff by Superintendent Dr. Calvin J. Watts and the technical leadership and efforts of the entire budget and finance team. Our positive progress and outcomes in the audit process are evidence of the team's hard work every day.

"The results of the FY20 audit are further evidence that our staff is dedicated to the mission, vision, and core values of the Kent School District. Particularly during this time of pandemic and continued and sustained scrutiny, I have continued to witness our budget and finance team's commitment to the fiscal health and sustainability of our District for the benefit of each and every student," shared Superintendent Dr. Calvin J. Watts.  "A commitment that I never had doubt in and appreciate each day deeply. I am proud of what we have accomplished, and I am confident that we will continue on this path of maintaining fiscal health and solvency." 

The 2019-20 Kent School District audit report will be available on the Washington State Auditor's Office website in late June 2021.