December 11 2017

Burlington Superintendent: CPA Report Counts as Audit Under State Rules

By: Rich Hosford

Burlington Public Schools Superintendent Eric Conti posted a blog post answering a question brought up at a recent discussion about a report on Student Activity Accounts in the middle and elementary schools.

As reported on BNEWS, a June 30, 2017 report, put together by the certified public accountant firm Roselli, Clark & Associates, was part of the School Department’s compliance with the 2015 “Agreed Upon Procedures and Audit Guidelines for Student Activity Funds” issued by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Under the new guidelines Student Activity Accounts must undergo an audit every three years and school officials say this is part of that process.


During the November 14 School Committee meeting there was a wide ranging discussion about the report and the findings it had critical of how the different schools managed the activity accounts. Another question that arose was whether the look at the accounts constituted an “audit” of them, as Conti said repeatedly during the meeting.


Some concerned parents and Town Meeting members challenged the assertion, pointing to the report by Roselli, Clark & Associates itself, that states they “were not engaged to, and did not conduct an audit.” Those questioning whether this report qualified as an audit said they were concerned that if it didn’t meet the guidelines the school department could potentially be further out of compliance.


Conti posted a blog this week with clarification from Roselli, Clark & Associates. He quotes them as saying “We have to write it that way because it’s not a GAAP audit. Under the Mass General Law, the regulation states the activities are audited in accordance with the guidelines established by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.  So in following the guidelines we have conducted the audit as required under the law.”


Another report by the same firm detailing problems with the high school’s Music and Performing Arts Revolving Fund, which has significantly larger funds, will be up for discussion at the December 19 School Committee meeting.


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