The Guam Department of Education (“GDOE”) made a significant improvement in financial reporting and compliance with major federal program requirements during fiscal year 2013. For the first time in over a decade, an external audit rendered an unmodified or “clean” opinion on financial statements and the compliance
audit of GDOE’s major federal programs. The major programs in the compliance audit include the US Department of Education (“USDOE”) Consolidated Grant, Special Education, Head Start and the National School Lunch Program. GDOE Superintendent, Jon Fernandez, is pleased with progress his department has
made. “This is my expectation and an important indication that we are moving things in the right direction,” said Fernandez.
“Now we need to maintain this level of performance as we work to address other areas that
will get us off the high risk status.”
Although the audit issued findings in procurement, non-appropriated funds, account reconciliation and fixed assets management, all questioned costs were under $3K as GDOE continues to put structures in place to aggressively address these concerns. The full implementation of the Financial Management Information System (“FMIS”) during fiscal year 2013 played a major role in the audit. The new FMIS is used to process financial, payroll, human resources,
maintenance, employee self-service, fixed assets and procurement transactions. “We are seeing the results of the investment we made in the new system and aggressive training of our employees to use it,” said Fernandez.
“This was the first year of full implementation and I expect that we will continue to improve our internal
efficiency now that we understand the value of our system.”
Fernandez also noted that GDOE accomplished this major achievement despite a large decrease in staffing levels which were down by 44 employees in the year, and with a decline in total local appropriations. GDOE’s local appropriations decreased by nearly $10M, going from $230.6M in FY 2012 to $221.3M in the current year.
During the year GDOE also exercised prudent financial management and controlled overall expenditures. GDOE’s expenditures totaled $323.2M, of which $254M were local funds and $69.2M were federal funds.
Local expenditures went from $222.3M to $254M, an increase of $31.7M primarily due to ARRA expenditures.
Otherwise, local operations essentially remained the same.
The release and outcome of the audit is welcomed news for GDOE as they prepare for a visit from USDOE from July 2-9, 2014, to discuss progress on the high risk status. “While there is more work to do, I am pleased with the progress we have made with our audit,” said Fernandez. “We will share this outcome during our visit next week as part of our discussions with USDOE.”