Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Ten years of spotless audits for college district

The Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District is ending 2012 on the up side – first with November’s twin victories at the polls with the passage of both Proposition 30 and Proposition V – and now, another round of unblemished financial audits that continue a decade-long streak.
Despite years of state budget cuts to community colleges, the 10 years of independent audits show the district’s accounting of public dollars remains crystal clear and above reproach.
This week, independent auditors once again presented the governing board with reports reflecting “unqualified” – otherwise known as “clean” -- opinions for the district’s general audit; its alternative pension plan; Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges’ foundation and the district’s auxiliary; and the Proposition R bond construction funds. An “unqualified” opinion is the best type of report to be issued from an external auditor, indicating no deficiencies in internal control or compliance. 
“These independent audits underline the district’s ongoing history of meticulous management of public resources and assure the public that we can be trusted with the collection and expenditure of taxpayer monies,” Governing Board President Bill Garrett said.
Chancellor Cindy L. Miles said clean audits are especially critical with the district soon to face the scrutiny of bond rating agencies as a result of the passage last month of its $398 million bond measure, Prop. V, which will be used to modernize aged facilities at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges, provide up-to-the-date technology, and create veterans’ resource centers at both campuses.
“This 10-year span of clean audits reflects the commitment of district and college staff to excellence in their bookkeeping and accounting practices,” Miles said. “Our district’s business services department does an outstanding job and the public can be assured of transparency in its tracking of finances.”
The college district has had to deal with state budget cuts totaling $16 million over the past four years, forcing the colleges to eliminate more than 1,600 classes since 2008. The November passage of the governor’s tax measure – Prop. 30 – allowed the district to avert a $5.6 million state budget cut and to serve more than 1,100 additional students who would otherwise been unable to get classes.
“While we’re pleased that California voters approved Prop. 30, the district still faces major budget challenges,” Miles said. “Prop. 30 is a temporary reprieve, but we will continue to seek ways to be more efficient and find additional sources of funding.”
In addition to the exemplary marks the district received in its general audit for the 2012 fiscal year from Christy White Associates, a San Diego-based accounting firm specializing in K-14 educational audits, the district also garnered clean financial and performance audit s for its Prop. R program from the Glendora, Calif.-based accounting firm, Vicenti, Lloyd, Sutzman, LLP.
The $207 million bond measure approved by East County voters in 2002 provided for the construction or renovation of 13 major projects at the two campuses, along with number infrastructure improvements. The audits affirmed that the dollars were spent solely on facilities construction, repair and renovation as promised to voters.
“These perfect audits live up to the trust that voters have placed in us by passing two major bond funds,” Garrett said. “Their confidence in us is well justified.”
The audits are available at