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James A. Garfield Local School District Receives Auditor of State Award

Garrettsville - Most of the time, doing excellent work on the job is merely meeting an expectation. But for James A. Garfield School District Treasurer Tracy Knauer, excellence at work has earned her a rare award from the Auditor of the State of Ohio, Dave Yost.

According to a letter from the State Auditor’s office,  a recent financial audit of the school district has returned a clean audit report… one of only five school districts in Ohio… and the only Portage County school district to achieve this distinction. The letter went on to state, “James A. Garfield Local School District’s excellent record keeping has earned it the Auditor of State Award.”

According to JAG School Board President Guy Pietra, “Tracy does an outstanding job keeping the JAG school district financially sound and is meticulous in following all of the State’s accounting practices and guideline principles.  On at least three or four occasions, I have had auditors tell me personally that Tracy is very thorough and accurate.  We are very lucky and proud to have her as part of our school district. She is too modest regarding her achievements.”[pulledquote]James A. Garfield Local School District’s excellent record keeping has earned it the Auditor of State Award.[/pulledquote]

Knauer has been employed with JAG since January 2005. Among her responsibilities, Knauer is responsible for the effective financial operations of the district; she supervises one employee in the treasurer’s office and 10 food service employees; she directs financial operations including accounting, fiscal period closing, benefits management, grants management, forecasting, budgeting, compliance, and asset management; she works in cooperation with the superintendent, building administrators, transportation, maintenance and technology. Knauer is a member of the school board negotiation team, assisting in the labor contract negotiations for certified and classified staff. She also oversees financial planning, working in cooperation with administration and the board of education.

“Historically, Garfield has performed well on the annual financial audit,” Knauer says.  “However, the audit is typically released with little or no fanfare. By issuing an award to public entities based on audit performance, the State Auditor is acknowledging the positive accomplishments of the public sector. I would like to congratulate every member of the district; they are all part of the operation of the district and a successful audit.”

The Auditor of State Award is presented to local governments and school districts upon the completion of a “clean” financial audit report. Entities that receive the award meet these following criteria:

• They must file timely financial reports with the Auditor of State’s office in accordance with GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) without a CAFR (Certified Annual Financial Report);

• The audit report does not contain any findings for recovery, material citations, material weaknesses, significant deficiencies, single audit findings or questioned costs;

• The entity’s management letter contains no comments related to ethics referrals, questioned costs less than $10,000, lack of timely report submission, reconciliation, failure to obtain a timely Single Audit,findings for recovery less than $100, or public meetings or public records.

Auditor of State Dave Yost’s office is responsible for auditing all public entities in Ohio.  His mission is to protect Ohioans’ tax dollars while aggressively fighting fraud, waste and misuse of public money. The Auditor of State’s office is responsible for auditing more than 5,600 state and local government agencies. The office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies, and promotes transparency in government.

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