Local Government : School Audits

What audits do we conduct for school districts?

The State Auditor's Office conducts financial and accountability audits of Washington's public school districts.

In 1998, the Legislature gave our Office new audit responsibilities related to school districts and we assembled a schools team to oversee that work. Our School Programs Team is responsible for centralized planning and performing of complex school apportionment audits. 

First audit of a Washington charter school now published

In September 2015, we published our first audit of a charter school, the First Place Scholars Charter School, which we conducted at the request of the Charter Schools Commission. Notwithstanding the recent ruling by the state Supreme Court, we believe this audit can still offer all schools insight into potential problems as well as ways they can improve their accountability practices. Read a two-page summary (pdf, 100 kb) of the audit. Read the full report (pdf, 233 kb). 

Watch a video about this report:



What are apportionment audits?

Each year the State Auditor's Office audits how public school districts report three areas to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI):

  • Student enrollment
  • Certified instructional employees' education and experience (staff mix)
  • Student transportation

OSPI uses this information to determine districts' apportionment funding.  Seventy percent of the money districts receive is based on the numbers reported in these three areas.  Accurate reporting is critical for ensuring the funding amounts are correct. Funding errors are reported to OSPI through our audits. 

Alternative Learning Experience (ALE) audits

Alternative Learning Experience (ALE) has emerged as a focus in recent years. ALE programs provide an individualized course of study for K-12 students without being required to meet the in-class seat-time requirements for regular instruction. ALE courses may include online courses or courses where students receive a limited amount of in-person instructional contact outside the traditional classroom. These programs provide a way for school districts to claim students enrolled in nontraditional programs for purposes of state funding. RCW 28A.232.010 mandates, in part, that the State Auditor's Office conduct biennial financial audits of ALE courses from 2013-14 through 2016-17, and directs school districts to pay the associated costs.

  • Read our most recent accountability audit (pdf, 308kb) concerning ALE programs for the period
    September 1, 2013, through August 31, 2015.
  • Read our previous accountability audit (pdf, 104kb) for fiscal years 2011-2013.
  • Learn more about the performance audit work concerning ALE programs here.

Help with financial accounting and reporting

Schools and educational service districts have special requirements for managing their accounts and financial reporting.

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