PENINSULA — Audits of Ocean Beach School District covering 2016 to 2018 reveal the district didn’t follow state and federal regulations in some regards.

Issues found through two audits include employee payroll, high school graduation, paraprofessional qualifications, procurement and more.

Time-and-effort documentation

The 2017-18 audit found the district didn’t effectively ensure it followed federal regulations for Pre-K employee payroll costs.

The district didn’t obtain time-and-effort documentation for two employees whose positions were paid with program funds, as well as an employee who semi-annually worked on a program. However, the district was later able to provide alternative documentation to show the program costs for the employees was allowed.

Moving forward, the district will collect the same information for Pre-K staff as it does for building staff, according to the district. Doing so will ensure the district properly follows federal regulations.

High school graduation

The 2017-18 and 2016-17 audit found the district didn’t ensure it followed federal requirements for high school graduation rate data.

School districts are required to annually report graduation rate data to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. Districts should also maintain documentation to show it properly classifies whether a student is enrolled in the district.

Both audits found the district didn’t have official written documentation to support classification of students who transferred out of the district. Of five students looked at in an audit, one was noted to be a transfer student when they were actually an OBSD graduate.

The error was caused by turnover in the district’s registrar position, according to an audit. The district’s high school registrar will report graduation rate data annually to the district, including backup documentation for previous students. The registrar will also keep documentation for transfer students, according to the district.

Qualification of paraprofessionals

Paraprofessionals and substitute paraprofessionals funded by Title I are required to have a high school diploma or a GED. Districts are required to maintain documentation that proves a paraprofessional’s qualifications.

According to the 2016-17 audit, OBSD didn’t ensure it obtained proof that district paraprofessionals had a high school diploma. This was also an issue found in the 2015-16 audit.

Of 15 paraprofessionals checked in the 2016-17 audit, five substitute paraprofessionals didn’t have high school diplomas on file. The district fixed the issue for regular paraprofessionals after the 2015-16 audit. After the 2016-17 audit, the district started requiring all substitute employees to provide copies of their high school diploma during OBSD’s hiring process.

Procurement

The 2016-17 audit found the district didn’t follow procurement policy requirements when purchasing food. Without following program requirements, OBSD can’t prove it got the best possible price for its purchases.

Of $445,638 received from food programs in 2017, the district paid a contractor $244,206.

In response to the audit, OBSD updated staff with procurement policies and procedures, and a checklist for when making purchases.

Suspension and debarment

OBSD didn’t ensure it complied with suspension and debarment requirements for contractors it worked with, according to the 2016-17 audit. Federal regulations require districts to ensure contractors haven’t been suspended or debarred.

The issue came from OBSD relying on a purchasing cooperative to ensure a contractor followed federal requirements. The district couldn’t prove the contractor hadn’t been suspended or debarred.

Without following regulations, OBSD can’t prove it received the best price for its purchases. Since the audit, the district has checked to see if contractors have been suspended or debarred before entering a contract with them, according to the district.

Ranking, allocation

Districts are required to allocate grant funds to schools by rank of the total number of children from low-income families per school. Districts are supposed to serve schools with at least 75 percent of low-income students first.

According to the 2016-17 audit, OBSD didn’t ensure it allocated Title I funding according to program requirements. The district mistakenly allocated more Title I funds to the district’s school with the smallest low-income student population.

Because of the mistake, the schools with the highest low-income student population didn’t receive proper funding during the school year.

Since the audit, the district has completed a quarterly spending review to ensure program funds are properly allocated, according to the district.

Alyssa Evans is a staff writer for the Chinook Observer. Contact her at 360-642-8181 or aevans@chinookobserver.com

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