The Ferndale School District has earned a clean audit from the Washington State Auditor (SAO) for 2017-2018. The District also earned a clean audit for 2016-2017.
According to an Audit Exit Report from Washington State Auditor Pat McCarthy’s office, “The Office of the Washington State Auditor’s vision is increased trust in government. Our mission is to provide citizens with independent and transparent examinations of how state and local governments use public funds, and develop strategies that make government more efficient and effective.”
An audit includes approximately three-weeks with Washington State Auditors stationed onsite. A team of auditors examines School District financial records; interviews staff; and inspects every line item. For this audit year – SAO completed a general Financial Audit and an audit of Federal Programs. Federal Programs include Special Education and Title I Funding.
Each school district in the state is required to develop and adopt its own budget prior to the beginning of each school year. The budget process is governed by state law, state regulations and instructions provided by the Superintendent of Public Instruction with budgets prepared on forms strictly prescribed for this purpose.
Ferndale School District is no exception says Assistant Superintendent for Business & Support Services, Mark Deebach. "We are regulated by state and federal law, supervised by the Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction and annual audits by the State Auditor’s Office (SAO) are required by law."
“Clean audits don’t happen once a year, they happen every day,” said Ferndale School District Superintendent Dr. Linda Quinn. “School Districts earn great audit results because of the diligence of their budget teams. I want to thank our Budget Director Holly Graham, and the team of people that she manages for their extraordinary efforts.”
In addition to earning clean audit results, the District is also able to confirm financial sustainability for staff and programs through the 2019-2020 school year because of reserves built in advance for this purpose. The question of financial sustainability is one that every district in Washington State is struggling to answer.
“Education funding in Washington State is highly uncertain right now,” said Ferndale School District Superintendent Linda Quinn. “But, in Ferndale, we have planned for that for the last few years. We did not want to wait to rely on a legislative fix to McCleary from Olympia.”
The Washington State Legislature changed education funding as the result of the McCleary lawsuit, which determined the State had not been meeting its constitutional obligation to fully fund basic education.
Dr. Quinn continues, “We have reserves that will get us through this coming year. The planning we did in advance will allow us to commit to no staff layoffs this year. That feels pretty good when we look around and see many school districts making that tough choice.”
In a recent guest column in the Ferndale Record, the Ferndale School Board made it clear that school districts across the state need long-term solutions for budget sustainability but that legislators should, “Consider the taxpayers and the children in small rural districts like Ferndale. We ask that the state not place the burden for funding schools back on local communities. Instead we urge them to look for solutions that increase equity in all of our state’s educational systems.” That column can be found here: https://www.ferndalerecord.com/legislature-dont-break-mccleary-promise/
To read more about the Ferndale School District Accounting Team:
To read about last year’s audit:
To read the Ferndale School Board's Open Letter: