By Chris Piedici
Auditor comments within a management letter help address deficiencies with financial reporting so that board members and management can make informed and timely business decisions; with the ultimate goal being to strengthen the collection of data for financial reporting.
With the understanding that charter school boards vary in size and qualifications, the average board comprises 10 people and at least one person with a background in financial management. Charter boards have a fiduciary responsibility over budgeting and financial reporting, but are less likely to oversee the day to day control over human resources and financial processes. These challenges can make it difficult to obtain the right staffing to reduce deficiencies that are of high importance to remediate. Incorrect reporting of financial data can impede the progress of the future success of the educational system. With the source of funds from state aid flowing through Public School Districts to the Charter Schools, it’s especially important that Charter Schools are being fiscally responsible. The benefits of a consultant with backgrounds in Public Schools and Charter Schools can help reduce the burden of meeting the fiscal recommendations of management letters.
Consulting firms can assist with:
- Quarterly reviews of the financial data,
- Being an intermediate level of oversight between the auditor, internal finance positions and the board,
- Analysis of contract costs,
- Assessment reviews and recommendations of internal operations and,
- Development of Financial projections.
We understand the challenges that charter schools face with staffing limitations and can help provide remediation. For further information on the most recent audit guidelines please visit the NYS Department of Education:
Charter schools are part of a broad movement in public education toward results based accountability. Charter Schools began operating in New York through the New York Charter School Act of 1998. Although charter schools have been in operation across the U.S. for nearly 15 years and in New York for ten, much of the current knowledge base is about the setup, financing, and funding of charter schools. This includes state charter school finance systems and education metrics for the students, all of which are important pieces but leave a gap in ensuring a proper financial management system is in place within these schools.