Audit gives KC school district its first perfect score in decades

It’s been a long time coming, but Kansas City Public Schools finally got its clean audit.

The district’s annual independent review by its auditors concluded with no findings of weaknesses, the auditors reported to the school board Wednesday night.

In the past the district had been working to eliminate problems such as weaknesses in monitoring vendor contracts, poor compliance in providing financial records for federally funded programs and concerns with oversight of student activity funds at the schools.

The number of weaknesses lodged by auditors, which had peaked at 19 in 2008, had fallen steadily, reaching a perfect score this year for the first time in decades.

“We’re excited,” Superintendent Steve Green said. “It’s a tribute to the team and the focus and support of the board.”

The auditors also recognized the work the district has completed over the past three years to end the erosion of its fund balances. The latest audit showed that the district increased its fund balance by $6.1 million by cutting expenditures by $24.7 million to counter steadily declining revenue.

The district first turned the corner and began increasing its financial balances in 2010 under John Covington when the district closed more than 40 percent of its schools and cut staff by more than 1,000 employees. The district is continuing to make cuts, Green said, and the clean audit should lend confidence as the district works to sustain its financial management.

“We are a stable district,” Green said. “We are rock-solid financially.”