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Arizona School District Spending (Classroom Dollars) Fiscal Year 2014

Arizona School District Spending (Classroom Dollars) Fiscal Year 2014

Between fiscal years 2001 and 2014, Arizona’s total operational spending per pupil increased 41 percent. Despite this increase, per pupil spending in Arizona continued to trail the national average both in total and in the classroom. In fiscal year 2014, for the second consecutive year, Arizona districts spent 53.8 percent of available operating dollars on instruction—the lowest percentage since we began monitoring this in fiscal year 2001. The state-wide percentage decreased every year between fiscal years 2004 and 2013 before remaining flat in fiscal year 2014. At the same time, the percentages spent on administration, plant operations, food service, transportation, student support, and instruction support have all increased. Although factors outside a district’s control—such as district size, type, and location—can affect its efficiency, some districts operate efficiently and have lower costs despite these factors, while others do not. Finally, analysis of six measures found 57 of 208 districts had a moderate to high financial stress level.

 

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Glendale Union High School District—Theft and Misuse of Public Monies

Glendale Union High School District—Theft and Misuse of Public Monies

Our investigation revealed that from November 2008 to April 2010, Shannon May, former bookstore manager for Independence High School, embezzled and misused $70,382 of public monies that should have benefited students. On February 18, 2015, the Arizona State Grand Jury indicted Ms. May on felony charges related to theft, misuse of public monies, fraudulent schemes, and forgery.

 

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Isaac Elementary School District

Isaac Elementary School District

In fiscal year 2012, Isaac Elementary School District’s student achievement was similar to peer district averages, and the District’s operational efficiencies were mixed, with much higher administrative and plant operations costs than peer districts’ averages but lower food service costs. Between fiscal years 2007 and 2012, the District decreased its classroom spending while it increased nonclassroom spending, primarily for administration and plant operations. At the end of fiscal year 2011, the District closed two schools to reduce costs, but its administrative and plant operations costs remained high, partly because of higher staffing levels. The District’s transportation program operated efficient bus routes but had much higher costs per mile and per rider than peer districts’, partly because it operated a smaller program but also because it offered more generous benefits. Finally, the District lacked adequate controls over user access to its computer network and systems.

 

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Fowler Elementary School District

Fowler Elementary School District

In fiscal year 2012, Fowler Elementary School District’s student achievement was slightly higher than the peer districts’ averages, and the District operated efficiently. The District’s administrative cost per pupil was similar to the peer districts’ average, and it employed proper accounting and computer controls. The District’s plant operations costs per pupil and per square foot were lower than the peer districts’ averages primarily because of lower energy costs. Additionally, the District’s food service cost per meal was lower than the peer districts’ average, and the program was self-sufficient, in part, because the District paid the vendor that ran its program lower administrative and management fees than peer districts’, on average. Further, the District’s transportation program was efficient, with lower costs per mile and per rider and efficient bus routes. However, the District did not accurately report its number of riders transported, which resulted in substantial overfunding for fiscal years 2011 through 2014.

 

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Tolleson Union High School District—Theft and Misuse of Public Monies

Tolleson Union High School District—Theft and Misuse of Public Monies

Our investigation revealed that from July 2009 to September 2011, Jamie Fimbres, former principal’s administrative assistant for Sierra Linda High School, unlawfully appropriated $10,521 of public monies for her personal benefit. On December 15, 2014, the Arizona State Grand Jury indicted Ms. Fimbres on felony charges related to theft, misuse of public monies, and fraudulent schemes.

 

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Winslow Unified School District

Winslow Unified School District

In fiscal year 2012, Winslow Unified School District’s student achievement was similar to peer districts’, on average, and its cost-efficiency in noninstructional areas was mixed. The District’s per pupil administrative costs were much higher than peer districts’, on average, primarily because it employed more administrative positions, and its plant costs were higher primarily because it maintained a large amount of excess school building space, which was likely not needed because most of the District’s schools operated far below their designed capacities. The District’s food service program operated with slightly higher costs that may have been a result of it not sufficiently overseeing the vendor operating the program. The District’s transportation program operated in a reasonably efficient manner, despite having higher costs per pupil, but the District needs to strengthen controls over fuel purchases.

 

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 Recent Updates

02-27-15:

Arizona School District Spending Fiscal Year 2014 Special Study

 

02-24-15:

Santa Cruz County Provisional Community College District June 30, 2014, Expenditure Limitation Report and Financial Statements and Report on Internal Control and Compliance with Highlights

 

02-23-15:

Glendale UHSD Theft and Misuse of Public Monies Special Investigation

Isaac ESD Performance Audit Report

 

02-19-15:

Pinal County Community College District June 30, 2014, Single Audit Report, and Financial and Single Audit Highlights

 

02-17-15:

Navajo County June 30, 2014, Report on Internal Control and Compliance

 

02-13-15:

Mohave County Community College District June 30, 2014, Single Audit Report, and Financial and Single Audit Highlights

 

02-12-15:

Addition of Fiscal Year 2015 Reporting Guidelines for Counties, Community Colleges, and School Districts

 

02-11-15:

Maricopa County June 30, 2014, Report on Internal Control and Compliance

 

02-06-15:

Yavapai County June 30, 2014, Report on Internal Control and Compliance

Yuma County June 30, 2014, Expenditure Limitation Report

 

02-04-15:

Cochise County Community College District June 30, 2014, Single Audit Report, and Financial and Single Audit Highlights

 

02-02-15:

Pima County Community College District June 30, 2014, ELR, Single Audit Report, and Financial and Single Audit Highlights

Pima County June 30, 2014, Report on Internal Control and Compliance

 

01-30-15:

Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and the Blind 24-Month Performance Audit Followup

Arizona State Board of Physical Therapy 18-Month Performance Audit Followup

Coconino County June 30, 2014, Financial Audit

 

01-29-15:

Yavapai County Community College District June 30, 2014, Report on Internal Control and Compliance

 

01-28-15:

Fowler ESD Performance Audit Report

 

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