Arizona: Chandler USD ELL funding costs adequate

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Fri Aug 24 14:25:41 UTC 2007

Audit: CUSD should track employee spending closely

*Ray Parker*
The Arizona Republic
Aug. 23, 2007 02:34 PM
The Chandler Unified School District spends a higher percentage of tax
dollars in the classroom than state averages but could improve how it tracks
employee spending, according to a state Auditor General's Office report
released Thursday.

Chandler administrators spend an average of 61 cents in the classroom,
similar to the national average of 61 cents, and above the state average of
58 cents.

In some areas, the audit said the district needed improvement, citing the
district did not adequately manage its credit cards and cell phones.

Employees use nearly 500 American Express credit cards (also referred to as
procurement cards, or p-cards), about 1 card for every six employees. There
were $2.3 million in purchases made on these cards.

"The district's review of these purchases was not adequate to ensure that
purchases were always appropriate, in compliance with district policies, and
that all applicable discounts were received," the audit reads.

In addition, auditors estimated that employees owed $26,700 for personal
calls on district cell phones, but the district collected just $10,675 in

Superintendent Camille Casteel said the p-cards are used to save money
because employees can simply go to an Office Max, for example, and use the
card for purchases.

"I really appreciated an outside perspective," Casteel said. "We'll take a
look so that the policy and procedures match. We've grown so fast."

The audit examines six aspects of the district's operations: administration,
student transportation, plant operation and maintenance, spending
Proposition 301 money, classroom spending, and the English Language Learner

*Transportation: *Chandler's fuel costs were 11 percent higher than
comparable districts', which was partly due the district not maintaining its
own fuel pumps. Also, the district lacked adequate controls over fuel cards
that made it susceptible to fraudulent fuel purchases. The district also did
not ensure that all of its drivers had current drug tests, refresher
trainings, and CPR and first aid certifications.

*Plant operations: *Chandler's total plant costs were lower than comparable

*English Language Learners: *Chandler likely received adequate funding to
cover its increased ELL costs.

*Prop 301 money: *Voters approved Proposition 301 in 2000, which increased
the sales tax for education. The district did not spend all of its
Proposition 301 money according to the law. About one-fourth of the
performance pay portion of Proposition 301 monies, more than $800,000, was
used to increase eligible employees' base salaries.

Casteel said the audit did not look at the construction and maintenance, or
capital, side of the district.

"We do a lot in this area, such as our grounds staff working 24/7 shifts,"
she said. "We may be the only district that does that . . . so we don't have
to buy as much equipment and can save in that area," she said.

The entire audit can be read at

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