Auditor Of Public Accounts
State Auditor Crit Luallen Releases Findings and Recommendations Regarding Johnson County School District. Letter was response to Request by United States Department of Education.

Press Release Date:  Monday, July 10, 2006  
Contact Information:  Jeff Derouen
Phone: (502) 573-0050
Fax: (502) 573-0067
Pager: (888) 222-5670

State Auditor Crit Luallen released today a letter outlining an investigation of attendance issues at the Johnson County School District brought to her attention by the United States Department of Education Office of the Inspector General. The attendance findings showed that attendance data submitted to the Kentucky Department of Education by the Johnson County School District could not be verified.

“While no direct evidence could be found indicating that attendance records were manipulated or changed, the state of the records and the process for gathering attendance data simply makes it impossible to verify attendance data. The system could be easily manipulated. Accurate reporting is very important, since average daily attendance directly impacts the amount of money each district receives from the state.” State Auditor Crit Luallen said.

In the elementary schools tested, attendance data, collected by teachers, was input by school principals and then discarded, leaving no backup to verify the figures. Principals input the data despite the fact that each school tested had a designated person to input attendance. Some of the interviewed teachers kept data that did not match what was input into the computer system and sent to Frankfort. In addition, the computer system logging function was disabled and therefore no tracking system exists to see if any changes were made to the attendance data.

Also, the investigation revealed that neither employees nor supervisors sign timesheets for “100 – day contract” employees. The current practice at the Johnson County School District provides no verification or accountability for those employees’ wages based on time sheets. The district also has no policy regarding the length of time a “100 – day contract” employee must work to constitute a day.

The Auditor’s Office recommends that Johnson County School District should maintain records to support student attendance data input at the school, that the data should be input in a timely manner, that discrepancies should be identified and resolved, and that timesheets should be signed and dated by employees as part of the payroll process.

In addition, Johnson County, in consultation with the Kentucky Department of Education, should define what constitutes a day of work for the “100-day contract” employees. The Auditor’s Office also recommends that the private firm performing the audit of Johnson County Schools expand their procedures to review payroll and attendance matters. The Auditor’s Office further recommends that KDE should provide training and monitoring to all school districts regarding attendance and payroll policies.

On May 11, 2006 a joint team of six staff from the Auditor’s Office and five staff from the Kentucky Department of Education made an unannounced visit to the Johnson County School District. Thirty-seven interviews were conducted at the central office, two elementary schools, the high school, and with a former superintendent.