Districts recognized for financial transparency

Area represents more than one-fourth of those honored statewide.

Twelve of the 45 school districts or schools in Ohio that earned a Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting for fiscal year 2011 are located in the Miami Valley.

The certificate, which is a product of the Association of School Business Officials International, recognized more than 500 districts nationwide for the presentation of their Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports.

“It adds to that credibility and transparency in the community, and shows everyone that, ‘We’re not hiding anything, and we can show where your money is going,’ ” said Virginia Boehringer, director of certification and recognition programs for the ASBOI.

In the Miami Valley, Beavercreek, Dayton, Greenville, Kettering, Lakota, Middletown, Oakwood, Springboro, Springfield City, Trotwood-Madison, Troy and the Miami Valley Career Technology Center earned this distinction for 2011.

Tracy Jarvis, Springboro Community City Schools treasurer, said her district hasn’t always filed a CAFR and applied for this honor, but it resumed the practice last year.

“We wanted everyone to see what we’re doing,” Jarvis said. “The CAFR is a more comprehensive financial report, and anybody can get this report and read it.”

Ohio districts are not required to produce a CAFR, but it is considered the most thorough financial report for districts. According to the state auditor’s office, fewer than 10 percent of districts in the 13-county Dayton region file this report.

“It is expensive,” said Mike Maurer, public information officer for the state auditor. “It takes a higher level of accounting.”

Producing a CAFR can cost a district anywhere from a few thousand dollars to closer to $10,000 to $20,000, depending on a district’s reliance on an external consultant. Kettering Treasurer Steve Clark said the cost for smaller districts can be on the higher end because they may have to rely on a consultant to do more of the work on the CAFR.

Nicole Marshall worked at the state auditor’s office before being hired as assistant treasurer at Kettering City Schools last year.

She said she is surprised more local residents don’t look at these district reports to gain financial information. Many districts that produce CAFRs, like Springboro and Kettering, post their reports on their district websites. Reports also can be found on the state auditor’s website at www.auditor.state.oh.us.

“The CAFR gives a good, in-depth picture of what’s going on in the school district — it shows where we’re coming from and where we’re going.” Marshall said. “It tells you pretty much everything you need to know about your district.”

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