Wickenburg USD Performance Audit Highlights

Wickenburg USD Performance Audit Highlights

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Wickenburg UnifiedSchool Districtand because many other factorsHHiigghh aaddmmiinniissttrraattiivvee ccoossttss——TheREPORTdemonstrate that they are not districtDistrict’s administrative costs per pupilHIGHLIGHTS employees, they do not meet the legalwere 10 percent higher than thePERFORMANCE AUDITrequirements to participate in the ASRS.comparable districts’ average primarilyAfter we brought this matter to thebecause it had more administrativeSubjectDistrict’s attention, the District requestedpositions.The Wickenburg Unified a review by the ASRS.School District is locatedAdministrative Costs Per Pupilin northwest MaricopaRecommendation—The District shouldCounty. In fiscal year Fiscal Year 2008continue working with ASRS to determine2008, the District served1,438 students in grades Wickenburg USD $979 what actions should be taken regardingkindergarten through 12. Comparable districts’ average $891 the Webb Center employees.Our ConclusionCCoommppuutteerr nneettwwoorrkk aanndd sseennssiittiivveeWickenburg USD had 22 administrativeWickenburg Unified information not adequatelypositions while comparable districtsSchool District’s protected—The District does not haveaveraged 18 positions.administrative costs peradequate controls over who can accessstudent were higher thanits computer network. For example, athe comparable districts’ Recommendation—The District shouldaverage. The District’s custodian and groundskeeper hadreview its administrative positions ...

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Wickenburg Unified
School District
and because many other factorsHHiigghh aaddmmiinniissttrraattiivvee ccoossttss——TheREPORT
demonstrate that they are not districtDistrict’s administrative costs per pupilHIGHLIGHTS employees, they do not meet the legalwere 10 percent higher than thePERFORMANCE AUDIT
requirements to participate in the ASRS.comparable districts’ average primarily
After we brought this matter to thebecause it had more administrativeSubject
District’s attention, the District requestedpositions.
The Wickenburg Unified a review by the ASRS.
School District is located
Administrative Costs Per Pupilin northwest Maricopa
Recommendation—The District shouldCounty. In fiscal year Fiscal Year 2008
continue working with ASRS to determine2008, the District served
1,438 students in grades Wickenburg USD $979 what actions should be taken regarding
kindergarten through 12. Comparable districts’ average $891 the Webb Center employees.
Our Conclusion
CCoommppuutteerr nneettwwoorrkk aanndd sseennssiittiivveeWickenburg USD had 22 administrativeWickenburg Unified information not adequatelypositions while comparable districtsSchool District’s protected—The District does not haveaveraged 18 positions.administrative costs per
adequate controls over who can accessstudent were higher than
its computer network. For example, athe comparable districts’ Recommendation—The District should
average. The District’s custodian and groundskeeper hadreview its administrative positions to
transportation program is access to sensitive information.determine how costs can be reduced.
efficient, and its plant Additionally, servers housing student data
operation costs per
are stored in an unlocked room with anDistrict improperly enrolledsquare foot were lower
unsecured window, and the District lacksfoundation employees in ASRS—than the comparable
districts’. The District is a disaster recovery plan.Since 2001, the District has had a
addressing challenges partnership with the Wickenburg
with its newest school RReeccoommmmeennddaattiioonn——The District shouldFoundation for the Performing Arts
that is operating with very implement controls to safeguard its(Foundation) to operate the Del E. Webblow enrollment. The
computerized network and sensitiveCenter (a performing arts center) locatedDistrict’s percentage of
information.dollars spent in the on the Wickenburg High School campus.
classroom was slightly This charitable organization helped to build
lower than comparable Transportation programthe theater on the high school campus
districts. and continues to provide financial support. ooppeerraatteess eeffffiicciieennttllyy——Wickenburg
In return, the District agreed to consider USD’s transportation costs per mile were
the Webb Center’s five employees as about 16 percent lower than the
district employees and provide them with comparable districts’. The lower costs
medical and Arizona State Retirement were due to program efficiency, with each
System (ASRS) benefits that they would bus operating at 90 percent of capacity,
not otherwise have received. By law, on average, compared to a typical 75
membership in ASRS is restricted to
percent. Because it has an efficientemployees of the State and its political
program, the District’s state transportationsubdivisions, although the ASRS may
aid exceeded the District’s transportationapprove certain nonprofit corporations to
expenditures by about $258,000.2010 participate if their primary purpose is to
perform a governmental service. Because
the Webb Center employees do notFebruary • Report No. 10-02
primarily perform a governmental service,capacity). Further, 56 of the students do not live in
Transportation Costs Per MIle the District but attend under the District’s open
Fiscal Year 2008 enrollment policy.
$4.50
$3.85
$4.00 Because the District anticipated operating shortfalls$3.34
$3.50
$2.84 for this school, the builder of the master-planned
$3.00
$2.55 $2.38 $2.29 community agreed to donate monies to subsidize$2.50
$2.17
$2.00 it. During 2008 and 2009, the builder donated
$1.50 almost $959,000—or over 72 percent of the
$1.00 school’s operating costs. The builder recently
$0.50
agreed to continue providing donations through
$0.00
Sedona-Oak Thatcher Camp Wickenburg Mammoth- Round Valley Average fiscal year 2012. If enrollment does not increase
Creek USD USD Verde USD San Manuel USD
USD USD and the builder’s subsidy ends, the District may
need to consider closing the school.
District does not comply with some state safety
ssttaannddaarrddss——While the program is efficient, the Recommendation—The District should continue
District failed to meet two requirements of state closely monitoring the financial matters at its
Minimum Standards. First, the District’s bus newest school.
preventative maintenance was not systematic or
uniform. Second, although district bus drivers were Classroom dollar percentage slightllyytested annually for drug and alcohol use, the bbeellooww ccoommppaarraabbllee ddiissttrriiccttss——In fiscal yearDistrict did not conduct random drug and alcohol
2008, Wickenburg USD spent 55.5 percent of itstesting of its drivers.
dollars in the classroom compared to 56.3 percent
spent in the classroom by comparable districts andRecommendation—The District should ensure it
57.3 percent spent state-wide.follows all state Minimum Standards.
EExxttrraaccuurrrriiccuullaarr AAccttiivviittiieess FFeeeess TTaaxx CCrreeddiittPPllaanntt ooppeerraattiioonn aanndd mmaaiinntteennaannccee ccoossttss
monies misspent—These tax credit monieswere low—Wickenburg USD’s plant operation
can only be spent on extracurricular activities thatand maintenance costs of $4.33 per square foot
are educational in nature, such as band and after-were about 10 percent lower than the $4.79 for
school sports programs. However, the Districtcomparable districts. The District has taken action
spent $19,000 on inappropriate items that did notto keep its plant costs low. For example, in the
necessarily apply to extracurricular activities, suchlatter part of fiscal year 2008, the District replaced
as three SMART boards ($8,500), a park benchall of its outdated thermostats with new,
($1,750), and almost $3,000 on seeds and fertilizerprogrammable units. From fiscal year 2008 to 2009,
for nonathletic lawns at the District’s schools.electricity usage declined by approximately 6
percent.
RReeccoommmmeennddaattiioonn——The District should ensure that
Extracurricular Activities Fees Tax Credit monies areNewest school presents challenges for
spent according to statute.District—In 2008, the District opened a new
elementary school in a master-planned community
approximately 47 miles from Wickenburg. However,
the anticipated growth in the community has not
materialized, and the school has only 146 students
in a facility designed for 914 students (16 percent
A copy of the full report is available at: REPORT
www.azauditor.govWickenburg Unified HIGHLIGHTSContact person: PERFORMANCE AUDITSchool District
Ann Orrico (602) 553-0333 February 2010