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January 12, 2007     Cape Gazette
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January 12, 2007
 

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CAPE GAZETTE - Friday, January 12 - Monday, January 15, 2007 - 19 Cape comprehensive financial audit to begin By Georgia Leonhart Cape Gazette staff " The State Auditor's Office is set to begin audit of Cape Henlopen school district finances Monday, Jan. 22, as requested by the school district. "These people are the experts and we welcome them and any suggestions and recommenda- tions they may have," said Ed Seibert, district director of busi- ness affairs. The Auditor's Office audit is more comprehensive than audits of district finance statements, bal- ance sheets and fund balances conducted annually by a private finn hired by the district. "The audit will include all fed- eral, state and local funds. It will also include activity and recre- Model Continued from pasge 17 experienced increasing popula- tion in a condensed area. "We don"t want to tell the coun- ty what to do," said Falk. "We just want to present different options. The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and its Cooperative Extension Service, the College of Human Services, Education and Public Policy and its Institute for Public Administration and the College of Marine and Earth Studies and its Delaware Sea Grant College pro- gram are all collaborating on the effort, said Falk. Free Estimates, Custom Cedar & Vinyl Fence Population growth According to the university, from 1990 to 2000, the population of Sussex County increased by more than 38 percent. The county now has approximately 157,000 residents and is growing monthly. Most growth has been along the county's east coast - the Delaware Bay, Atlantic Ocean and Inland Bays regions. Growth is expected to continue in the next 25 years, possibly increasing by as much as 62 percent to 255,000 people, according to the Delaware Population Consortium. As the county prepares to update its comprehensive land use plan, the maps and informa- tion from this initiative could play a key role, said Falk. The infor- mation will be available to any- one who is interested. Falk said the goal is to get the study com- pleted by March and hire graduate students to compile background information. For more informa- tion, contact Falk at 645-4235. "We've got a couple different universities that have a presence here in Sussex County;" said Falk. "We all have an interest in pre- serving resources. We also want to let people know the university is committed to southern Delaware." Contact Rachel Swiclc at rswick @ capegazette, cor ati0nal funds and all carryover funds - being funds not utilized from prior years," said Karen Wallace, administrative auditor for the state and manager of the Cape Henlopen audit. "In addition to comparing budg- et numbers to real numbers, we will look at processes and con- trols, and conduct a fraud-risk assessment," Wallace said. "If in testing we find inappro- priate or questionable activities, testing is expanded," she said. Based on the testing results the team will determine whether the financial statements presented by the district fairly presented the district's financial situation. "If questionable activity or insufficient control is found, a written schedule of findings will be prepared," Wallace said. FY07 budget on hold The audit comes after financial concerns caused the school dis- trict to consider offering retire- ment incentives to reduce the number of paraprofessionals, or teacher's aides. Though charter schools are required to have a comprehensive annual audit, school districts are not, Wallace said, an issue that has concerned the Auditor's Office ever since last year's discovery that the Chri.stina School District was operating at an estimated deficit in excess of $1 million. Though Seibert said he is confi- dent regarding the accuracy of the district's financial records, he has put further work on completion and analysis of the fiscal year 2007 budget on hold until the financial audit is done. "It is best GOOD FENCE MAKES A GOOD NEIGHBOR " 00dbL. FIRST CHOICE 00FENCE COMPANY LLC ]3o2) 6...n.76. Lice1 e & Insured Serving Sussex County Owner Operated From Sales To Installation to wait until the audit is complet- ed so we can incorporate any rec- ommendations into this year's budget," Seibert said. Audit results The type of response the audi- tors will make depends on the nature of any questionable activity that the process may uncover. "The question is how important the mistake is to the actual finan- cial statement," Wallace said. If it is not significant, there will be a verbal discussion with district representatives. The next level would require a management letter that would be attached to the report, and e final level would require a sepa- rate written report regarding the questionable activity. The final audit report will be provided to the governor, state treasurer, Office of Management and " Budget, the Attorney General's office, the Department of Education, and the district. The public may access the Cape Henlopen audit report online at www.state.de.us/auditor; The report would be listed by year and would be identified as the Cape Henlopen financial statement audit. Wallace anticipates that the audit will cover fiscal year 2006 and expects that the audit will take three to four weeks. The cost, which will not be known until the audit is complet- ed, will be paid by the school dis- trict. 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