UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL REGION V III NORTH CANAL. SUITE 940 CHICAGO. ILLINOIS 60606 FAX: (312) 353-0244 Audit Investigation (312) 353-7891 (312) 886-6503 SEP 062002 t:' Mr. Thomas D. Watkins, Jr. Superintendent of Public Instruction Michigan Department of Education 608 West Allegan Street P.O. Box 30008 Lansing, MI 48909 Dear Mr. Watkins: This Final Audit Report (Control Number ED-OIGIA05B0038) presents the results of our audit of the Michigan Department of Education's (MDE) administration of selected federal funds provided to charter schools for the period October 1, 1999, through September 30, 2000. This report incorporates the comments you provided in response to the draft audit report. The objective of our audit was to determine if charter schools in the State of Michigan expended federal funds for their intended purposes and according to applicable laws and regulations. AUDIT RESULTS For the period October 1, 1999, through September 30,2000, the MDE allocated $5,611,803 in Public Charter Schools Program (PCSP) funds; $5,096,796 in Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended, Title I, Part A (Title I), funds; and $454,480 in Individuals with Disabilities Education Act - Part B (IDEA - Part B) funds to charter schools operating in the State of Michigan. The 10 charter schools selected for audit used and accounted for federal funds awarded by MDE in accordance with applicable federal laws and regulations. The 10 charter schools we audited maintained adequate documentation to support expenditures charged to the three federal programs. We selected these 10 charter schools as the best representation of Michigan charter schools as a whole. However, the results of our audit cannot be projected beyond the schools audited. All 10 schools that we audited operated on a July 1, 1999, through June 30, 2000, fiscal year and reported expenditures of federal funds for the same period. Representatives from each charter school and/or the educational service provider (ESP), hired by the charter school's board, provided us with a list of expenditures charged to the three federal programs for that period. Our audit work demonstrated that the charter schools that hired an ESP generally relied on that entity to administer federal funds provided to the school. The ESP would receive guidance and direction from a publicly appointed school board who was ultimately responsible for the federal funds that the school received. Our mission Is to promote the efficiency, effectiveness, and Integrity of the Department's programs and oparatlons. We judgmentally selected a sample of expenditures charged to each program and traced them to supporting documentation such as vouchers, purchase orders, invoices, and canceled checks. We performed these tests to ensure that the service or item was provided to the school and related to the purpose of the program. We verified that the totals from the source documents agreed with the accounting records. We also gained a limited understanding of each school's system of internal controls over the administration of federal funds. We concluded that all 10 schools had sufficient controls in place to provide reasonable, but not absolute, assurance that federal funds were being expended according to appropriate federal laws and regulations. Finally, we interviewed MDE personnel who provided us with information about their role in awarding, monitoring, and accounting for federal funds granted to charter schools. We concluded that MDE had controls in place to provide reasonable assurance that, during our audit period, federal funds were adequately supported and properly expended. OTHER MATTERS One charter school (of the lOwe audited) was unable to readily identify expenditures charged to the PCSP and Title I programs during the fiscal year ended June 30, 2000. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-87, Attachment A (C) (I), describes general criteria for costs to be allowable under federal awards (in this case, the PCSP and Title I programs). According to this criterion, costs must be allocable to federal awards and adequately documented. The charter school had not implemented an accounting system that identified and tracked costs charged to federal programs as required by OMB Circular A-87. The charter school eventually provided supporting documentation for expenses associated with these two federal programs. After we brought this matter to their attention, officials from the school's ESP agreed to work with an accounting firm to implement an accounting system that tracks costs by federal program. We provided MDE officials with information regarding this school. We concluded that this charter school was not indicative of charter schools in the State of Michigan. We recommend that MDE provide guidance and assistance to charter schools to ensure they implement accounting systems that track expenditures by federal program. In its August 8, 2002, response to our draft audit report, MDE stated it asked that the one charter school work closely with its accounting firm to ensure compliance with federal and state regulations. Included in MDE's response was a letter from the accounting firm describing improvements in the school's accounting system to better track federal expenditures. MDE also provided assurance that it will continue to work with its charter schools that receive federal funds to ensure their compliance with federal laws and regulations governing accounting for and tracking federal funds. We have induded MDE's response as an Attachment to this final report. MDE's actions indicate that it is monitoring the situation at the one charter school adequately. Its assurance to work with its charter schools to ensure compliance with federal laws and regulations satisfactorily addresses our recommendation above. Final Audit Report 2 ED-OIGIA05B0038 BACKGROUND The PCSP was authorized in October 1994, under Title X, Part C of the ESEA, as amended (20 U.S.c. Sections 8061-8067). In October 1998, the Charter School Expansion Act of 1998 amended the program. The PCSP, which provides support for the planning, program design, and initial implementation of charter schools, is intended to enhance parent and student choices among public schools and give more students the opportunity to learn to challenging standards. Grants are awarded for a period of not more than three years, including not more than 18 months for planning and program design, and not more than two years for the initial implementation of a charter school. Allowable activities for the planning and implementation periods are defined in the law. Title I, Part A, of the ESEA, as amended, (20 U.S.C, Chapter 70, Sections 6301 - 6514), provides funds for supplemental educational services for eligible public and private school children living in high-poverty areas. The Title I, Part A program provides formula grants through state educational agencies to local educational agencies (LEA) to assist low-achieving children meet challenging state curriculum and student performance standards in core academic subjects. IDEA - Part B, also known as the Grants to States Program, Section 611 (20 U.S.C. 1411-1419), provides funding for disabled children from the ages of 3 through 21. These funds help to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for employment and independent living. There were a total of 192 charter schools approved to operate in the State of Michigan for the period October 1, 1999, through September 30,2000. Only 146 schools received federal PCSP, Title I, or IDEA - Part B program funding. According to MDE's records, the 146 schools, in total, were allocated $5,611,803 in PCSP funds, $5,096,796 in Title I funds, and $454,480 in IDEA - Part B funds. OBJECTIVE, SCOPE, AND METHODOLOGY The objective of our audit was to determine if charter schools in the State of Michigan expended selected federal funds for their intended purposes and according to applicable laws and program regulations. Specifically, we identified the amounts of federal PCSP, Title I, and IDEA - Part B funding that charter schools received and determined whether a sample of charter schools had implemented procedures to ensure adherence to applicable federal laws and program regulations or obtained waivers from such requirements. Our original audit period was October 1, 1999, through September 30, 2000. We expanded our audit period to the fiscal year October 1,2000, through September 30, 2001, as necessary. We did not assess the academic performance of the charter schools audited. We audited 10 charter schools in the State of Michigan. We randomly selected seven schools and judgmentally selected three. Initially, we randomly selected the schools based on the authorizing agency that issued the school its charter. We later selected schools based on whether the school used an ESP to perform administrative and financial duties for the school. Final Audit Report 3 ED-OIG/A05B0038 To accomplish our objective, we reviewed • federal laws, including the ESEA, as amended, for the PCSP grant fund and Title I - Part A grant funds; • the law covering special education funds, as specified under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; • policies and procedures for the accounting of federal funds for these programs at the individual schools; • accounting and payroll records, purchase orders, and cancelled checks for judgmentally selected transactions; • State of Michigan charter school budget plans; • individual school's financial audit reports; • audit working papers at independent accounting firms; and • MDE federal fund performance and expenditures reports. We also interviewed representatives from each school, its ESP, and, if applicable, its independent public accounting firm; officials of a major authorizing agency; and MDE officials. We relied on computer-processed accounting data provided to us by each charter school or its ESP. We tested the data by comparing it to MDE's records and tracing selected expenditures to source documents. The purpose of our tests was to determine the data's suitability for use in meeting the audit objective. We concluded that the data, when used for its intended purposes, was sufficiently reliable to be used in meeting our audit objective. We performed on-site field work at MDE's administrative offices in Lansing, Michigan, and at 10 charter schools. We started the school audits on December 4, 2001, and completed the last on-site charter school audit on March 25,2002. We held a field exit discussion with MDE officials on May 13,2002. Our audit was performed in accordance with government auditing standards appropriate to the scope described above. STATEMENT ON MANAGEMENT CONTROLS As part of this audit, we did not assess the adequacy ofMDE's system of management controls applicable to its administration of federal funding as a whole, because this step was not necessary to achieve our audit objective. Instead, we gained an understanding ofMDE's role in awarding, monitoring, and accounting for federal funds granted to charter schools. We also determined whether individual charter schools had controls in place to ensure that federal funds were spent according to federal laws and regulation. Because of inherent limitations, an assessment made for the limited purpose described would not necessarily disclose all material weaknesses in management's controls. However, nothing from the information that we obtained at MDE, or at the individual charter schools, demonstrated that the controls in place were not sufficient to ensure that federal funds were expend~d according to the applicable laws and regulations. Final Audit Report 4 ED-OIGIA05B0038 ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS Statements that managerial practices need improvements, as well as other conclusions and recommendations in this report, represent the opinions of the Office of Inspector General. Determinations of corrective action to be taken will be made by the appropriate Department of Education officals. If you have' any additional comments or information that you believe may have abearing on the resolution of this audit, you should send them directly to the following Department of Education official, who will consider them before taking final Departmental action on the audit. Susan B. Neuman, Ed.D. Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education U.S. Department of Education FB6-3W315 400 Maryland Avenue, SW Washington, DC 20202 Office of Management and Budget Circular A-50 directs Federal agencies to expedite resolution of audits by initiating timely action on the findings and recommendations contained therein. Therefore, receipt of any additional comments within 30 days would be greatly appreciated. In accordance with the Freedom of Infonnation Act (5 U.S.C. § 552), reports issued to the Department's grantees and contractors are made available, if requested, to members of the press and general public to the extent information contained therein is not subject to exemptions in the Act. If you have any questions, please call me at 312-886-6503. Regional Inspector General for Audit, Region V Final Audit Report 5 ED-OIGIAOSB0038 Attachment' JOHN ENGLER OOYERNOA STATB OF MlCHIOAN DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION LANSING MIC~~ Education THOMAS O. WATKINS. JR. $UPEfojtfl11!NCiiiNt OF I'UIiLIC :r..S'tRUGl1ON I AugU$t 8. 2002 Mi'; Richard J. Ddwd Regional Inspector General for Audit Region V U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General III N. Canal street, Suite 940 Chicago, TIlinois Dear Mr. Dowd: In response to the Draft Audit Report (Control NumberBD-01GlAomo038) dated July 3I, 2002, we are pleased that your auditfmdings for the e~penditureoffederal funds under EsBA Title rprogram, Public Charter School Grantprogram andSpeciatEducation programs. for the periQd October I, 1999 tnrollgh September 30,2000 indicate fundsw~ expei\ded iiiaceordaneo wIth federa1 iaw and' regulation. As YOIl note in the Draft Report-under the section "OtberMatters," one of the ten audited charter school programs ~ \ffi!lbJe to readily 14~tify ~(,f~ ch!ll'ged to th~ Chuter School Grant program and Titlol programs during thetiscal year mdl!<! June 30,.2000. In response to thJ:ise: finding!;, wehave ;asked that thi$ charter school wQ'rk closely with thoit'aecoUliting fum to insure iiloteaSecl llCCOunting and tracking controls.that,comply with federal and state regulations. Tho charter S¢hool"s key &dtn1nlstrative staff is aW'arO aftho ncOdforthese ilCC9Ui1ting:procedure enharu:ementa and is currently working with the accounting firm to IISJ~ C\ln'elil ~!l ti$Jte compliMCC. &cloRd for YQiitm'iew'is dotter froin the acoounting fum engasedbythe charter school confirming their re<;Ommendatlons tQ tho sc;bool t9 improve tracking and.acoounting proeodutei. We trust that you will flIid these assurances a satisfactory responle to your audit report. We WUloontinue . to work with the eh~r scbQol PI1i~ th!It,i,re recipients ofESEA Title I, Public CharterSchocil Grant program and Special Education program funds to assure contin~ current and fut!:lre compliance with federal laws andregulat/ons regardlng accoWltingand tracking ot'futu:ls expended. Enclosure cc: Elaine Madigan Kathleen Weller Js,cquelj?lThomps!lIl Dorothy VanLooy : .... , .KATHLEEN. N. STRAUS· PRESIDENT • SHAFlON.L C31F1E • ViCE PRES10E;NT MICHAEL DAVID WARREN, JR.' SECRETARY • EILEEN. LAPPIN WEISER'· TFlEA$URER MARIANNE YARED MCGUIRE· NASBE DEt,EGATI:: • JOHN C, AUSTIN • HERBERTS. MOVER • SHAAON A. WISE eoeWEsT Au,e~AN STREE;t· p.o, .sox ~ • LMlSIN~. MICHIGI'.N 48®9 wwW.mlchtgan,gOV·(617) 373'3324 Final Audit Report 6 ED-OIG/A05B0038 Attachment ............ ,., • . . . . . . . . .t'~ .; ;-"7,""", .. ----0:-----__________________ "C-, Qlante Planle.. Uoran, &.LP $.lit sao ~oran 2a01~'CouR ~""IoII<III3zj1 _MA"a..t100 FIle ueA71•."Q1 -,~- August 6, 2002 Mr. Greg Olszta Michigan Dept of~dUt:atlon Office of Eclucati 1\ Options John A Hannah ultcling 808 West Allegari STreet PO Box3000a lansing MI 4890~ Dear Mr. Olsata: I am writing to dc$cument for you the 6tatus of the acc:ountlng procedure enhancements relating to federal grantpiugrams of the II As you are Plante & Moran. awa"", uP has been engaged by the AcademytGprcwlde amual accounting assistance, rneluding prepara1fon of the genetalledger and flnanelal statements for 1he Ac$iemy. • Historically. the ~att of a.ccounts utiIiZecI for the Academy contaltlecl the funct10nal expense c:letaU reqUlred:eMichIgan School Accounting Manual (1022 Manual). The general ledger did not utilize accounts to segregate expenditures relating to federal grant programs from other a.cademy ltUreS. .... For the 2001120/)2 school year. I ''V ~V I 9 of the Acaclemy have uti1iZed:lndlture tractcIng ayatMIS OUWlde Of the gannllid;er for ita fedlf'll grants. When they exp d federal dollars. they i\odfy UI Of the appllcalSle grant program 10 thet we may properly lieg Ie the funds withIn the general ledger and financial repo~ systems. We are stili In thtPRlCeSS, of finalIZIng t,fayand June accountfng mattel'li with the Academy and ' I • I expect to com • the- general ledger. (manclal atatements and flUmmaty of federal expenditures sh rtJY. . , For the 2C0212~03 school year. we Intend to expand 1M Academys chait of accounts to segregate aU federal expendHuras at the time they are Initially posted to 1he generalledget• I . . . . . . . . .',. at the Academy, retain responslblUty for monitoring of grant .Jq)enditures an(:j notifying u.s when appiicable fadel'll funds are spent. , , • _ _of_ _ _ -9 Final Audit Report 7 ED-OIG/A05B0038 Attachment' Mr.Grego_ . Page 2 MIchigan Depi of,E~eatian August B, 2002 We discussed :E' ' ~~IJI'8I. Mt~ Ken Obaan4 Mr. Frank Soenzi of the U,S. bepartment of Ed' ClticnOfflce Cf rn.ptetor GeneraJ. Mr; Oba and W. Boer'\Zi Ind~ted their' approval oftha ntl'ng chllngsa fObe made.. t- Wa Ire CO~dentj II'1II new procIdl,lt'ts INtIl PI'O'I\t!$ a more ml;htforwal'd arlc! accurate acc:ount1n9 Of expaAdttl.!rt. by Ippilcabls federal grarft. ~ PJease <fo nothesllate to contact metfyC)",I'I(1U1fead~ I!iforma.tkI,.·.orhave anyquesUons. Very wly YOUiW. :1 Final Audit Report 8 ED-OIG/A05BOO38
Audit of the Michigan Department of Education's administration of selected federal funds provided to charter schools for the period October 1, 1999, through September 30, 2000.
Published by the Department of Education, Office of Inspector General on 2002-09-06.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)