EXECUTIVE SUMMARYThis report contains the results of our audit of Magnolia Science Academy –Charter Schools (“MSA Schools”). The MSA Schools referred to in this audit were the Magnolia Science Academy-1, Magnolia Science Academy-2 and Magnolia Science Academy-3. The MSA Schools are part of twelve Magnolia Public Schools (MPS) operated by the Magnolia Educational and Research Foundation (MERF)...Our audit found that the MSA Schools were not in full compliance with the selected provisions, standards and procedures outlined in their respective Charter Agreements. We also noted that the MSA Schools needed to strengthen their internal control systems and their oversight of fiscal and financial operations. Some of the significant conditions we noted during the audit included:
- The governing board needed to review its existing governance structure to allow for the increased participation of parents, community members and other parties in the Charter Schools’ policy decision areas and other school advocacy.
- The MSA Schools did not maintain all employment documentation in the employee files as prescribed by the California Education Code and the Charter Agreement.
- The MSA Schools did not maintain all the enrollment documentation required by the written enrollment procedures and by the provisions of the Charter Agreement.
- Review of the financial statements and accounting records noted: non-disclosure of related party transactions; failure to maintain required fund reserves; failure to appropriately apply accrual basis of accounting; lack of monitoring of cash receipts and deposits process; lack of documentation for disbursements; lack of control over journal entries, and lack of adequate training for the accounting staff.
- The processes and controls over the bank reconciliation were inadequate. We found one Charter School that dated all reconciliations three days prior to this audit. We also noted that some deposits in transit remained outstanding in bank reconciliations from five months to almost a year.Conclusion: Our audit noted control weaknesses in governance structure, employment documentation and qualifications of staff, admission/enrollment requirements and various financial control issues managed by the Magnolia Public Schools Central Office at the MSA School sites visited...Potential ImpactThe conditions described above, along with their underlying causes, may have increased the risk of fraud, waste and abuse of the MSA Charter Schools’ funds that could potentially result from the inability to detect irregularities, improper use of public funds or misappropriation of assets. Also, the questioned costs and questionable accounting practices identified in the course of the audit may have resulted in misstated and inaccurate financial statements of the MSA Charter Schools...
Magnolia Science Academy charter schools
“Audit Report – Magnolia Science Academy-Charter Schools.” Los Angeles Unified School District, Office of the Inspector General, 8/20/2012
NOTE: Although this internal audit report of these three Gulen charter schools was released in August 2012, the serious findings have not been presented to the public by the media, nor publicly discussed by the LAUSD school board as of 12/1/2012. It is also not known who ordered the audit, or why. If you live in LA, I urge you to pressure your local media to cover the story. More on the Magnolia chain HERE.