Lincoln nearing completion of overdue audits, behind on 2016-17

Junior Gonzalez
York Dispatch

Lincoln Charter School is set to complete two years of overdue audits next month, according to the York City school’s business manager.

Lincoln Charter School, 559 W. King St., York City  Amanda J. Cain photo

However, the charter school is already behind schedule on the completion of its independent audit for the 2016-17 school year, said school board treasurer Michael Doweary during a board meeting Thursday, March 1, in the Lincoln Charter School cafeteria.

Doweary spoke about eagerly awaiting emails confirming preliminary completion of audits for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years earlier in the week before giving the “honor” of speaking about the results to school business manager Vanessa Cusaac.

There are five findings in the 2014-15 audit and three in the 2015-16 audit, she said, adding that they were “things we knew we were going to have,” including financial management issues, which she said were because of issues with the school’s former management firm, Edison Learning.

At that same meeting, Lincoln’s board approved a settlement of $65,000 between the charter school and Edison Learning, though board members did not elaborate on the terms of the agreement.

The York Dispatch has filed a Right-to-Know Law request seeking the agreement.

In the 2014-15 audit, Cusaac said, auditors also found issues with the school maintaining certain records, though she didn't provide specifics.

The 2015-16 audit had one missing statement of financial interest form from an employee and other findings based on the auditor’s inability to test certain areas because of inaccessibility of records, though Cusaac said “financially, there were no material deficiencies” reported in the 2015-16 fiscal year.

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Doweary, who also serves as business administrator for York City, said auditors instead used "alternative procedures" to get to the information they were looking for.

“We knew there were going to be issues in (20)14-15,” Doweary said, “but for (20)15-16, it can’t get any better.”

York City Business Administrator and Bracey campaign surrogate Michael Doweary debates York City mayoral candidate Michael Helfrich in Weinstock Lecture Hall at York College of Pennsylvania in Spring Garden Township, Thursday, April 20, 2017. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Representation letters are being signed by management, which Doweary said is typically the last step to completing any audit.

“Finally,” Doweary said.

That brought chuckles from board members, but he followed with a serious reminder:

“I don’t like to be the bearer of bad news, but 16-17 is already here,” he said. “We’re already technically behind the 8-ball.”

Doweary added that he hopes the audits for 2016-17 will be completed by the end of the 2017-18 school year and get the school’s fiscal footing back on track.

Board President Edquina Washington thanked the school's administrators for working to provide the documents needed to complete the audits.

“We want to make sure that our school is not only accountable but that we also want to be successful for the future,” she said.

“Our numbers are what they are,” she said. “For our 2015-16 audit, we really look wonderful.”

President and CEO Leonard Hart said that while there were some expected issues noted, he was pleased to see the coming completion of the audits.

After the meeting, Cusaac declined to comment.

Editor's note: This story was updated to correct an error regarding an audit finding on food services provided to the school.