Lake Stevens Journal - Your hometown newspaper since 1960


By Pam Stevens
Managing Editor 

GFSD corrects internal controls after findings in state audit


June 18, 2012

The Washington State Auditor’s office found that the Granite Falls School District’s internal controls were not adequate to ensure it maintained appropriate time and effort records to support payroll costs in the district’s Title I program for the 2010-2011 school year.

The report stated that the District spent $379,936 in federal funds, including $90,146 in Recovery Act funding, for its Title I program during the 2010-2011 school year.

The purpose of the Title I program is to improve skills of children in subjects such as reading and math who are at risk of not meeting state academic standards and who reside in areas with high concentrations of children from low-income families.

“We reviewed payroll documents to determine whether salaries and benefits the District charged to the grant were supported by adequate time and effort documentation as required by federal regulations,” the report stated.

Depending on the number and type of activities an employee works on, time and effort documentation can be completed twice a year or monthly. This includes time sheets.

If payroll is charged to a grant based on an estimated or budgeted amount, the estimates must be reconciled to actual time worked to ensure that the charges are accurate.

“We judgmentally selected to review eight employees’ time and effort records whose salaries and benefits were charged to the Title I program and found the District did not maintain adequate time and effort documentation for four,” the audit report stated. “Total salary and benefits paid with Title I funding for these four employees was $139,559.86, which includes $87,039.67 in Recovery Act funding.”

The concern is that the district is unable to support the accuracy of payroll costs charged to the grant as required by the grantor.

“We were able to confirm the amounts charged to the grant were for actual hours worked on the Title I program; therefore, we are not questioning costs,” the audit states.

The school district has completed a process to clear up these fndings in the future.

“Verification of the amount of time some employees spent working in a federal program (Title I) was done on a semi-annual basis. Although semi-annual verification is allowed for some employees, the employees in question didn’t qualify to use the semi-annual method, but rather needed to be done on a monthly basis. We are now verifying these employees on a monthly basis,” Mike Sullivan, Director of Business and Operations for the School District said.

“We appreciate the steps the District is taking to resolve this issue. We will review the condition during our next audit,” the auditor stated.


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