Saturday, January 16, 2010

School Dept fiscal review comes out clean and with praise (updated)

Based upon feedback from School Committee Chair Jeff Roy, the following, originally published on Thursday Jan 14th, has been updated.

It was not too long ago, it seemed like every time you turned around, something or someone was chipping away at the block of trust that citizens had in Franklin's government. The low point probably occurred just before Thanksgiving 2007. The School Committee released information that irregularities in the School budget had been discovered by the Town Comptroller. This appeared to be a "classic release bad news before the holiday move". However, this was not a story to be buried. This was the most serious of several incidents that had residents of Franklin questioning who they could trust. The January 9 2008 Town Council meeting was actually a joint one as the Town Council sat along with the School Committee to hear the auditors present the details of their findings.

Sorry to have brought the bad news back up but I want to put this real good news in the proper perspective. The Town (including the Schools) budget has been audited since then by the Town's regular auditors and the results have come up clean. Policy and procedures have been revised and implemented to improve the financial operations with appropriate checks and balances. The "trust" issue from a budget perspective should have been put to rest.

If someone was still looking for another source to confirm the Town auditor's findings, I think we have one. The School Department was recently the subject of a "fiscal review" by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and received praise for their operations.
The Franklin Public School has done well in maintaining a comprehensive system of written internal policies and procedures relative to its operations of the School Business office. Implementation of a comprehensive system of internal controls ensures that funds are expended in compliance with state and federal regulations and are used for the intended purposes of the grant.
Franklin Public Schools has a number of best practices being performed. Management and other department personnel should be commended for not holding credit cards in the name of Franklin Public Schools.
Additionally, the school district does not have an administrative petty cash fund, while most districts find this a necessity; Franklin Public Schools has done well in eliminating this potentially risky practice.
The credit for this commendation goes to the work of Miriam Goodman who came into this role specifically to address the problems and create good practices. Kudos to the School Committee for the hiring process that resulted in approval of Miriam for Business Administrator.

Miriam has done great work, she shows integrity in her work and the Town is better off for it.

Thank you Miriam!

The full text of the letter is shown below:

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