|Report Title:||Polk County District School Board - Florida Education Finance Program|
|Report Period:||FYE 06/30/2007|
Summary of Attestation Examination
Except for material noncompliance involving teachers, and students reported in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), and Career Education 9-12 on-the-job training (OJT), as discussed below, the Polk County District School Board complied, in all material respects, with State requirements regarding the determination and reporting of full-time equivalent (FTE) students under the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP) and the number of students transported for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2007.
Fifty-two of the 445 teachers in our sample did not meet State requirements governing certification, School Board approval of out-of-field teacher assignments, notification of parents regarding out-of-field teachers, or the earning of required in-service training points in ESOL strategies or required college credits for out-of-field assignments.
We noted exceptions involving 522 of the 1,185 students in our sample for ESOL, and 292 of the 319 students in our Career Education 9-12 (OJT) sample. These exceptions involved reporting errors or records that were not properly and accurately prepared or were missing and could not be located.
Noncompliance related to FTE resulted in 182 findings. The resulting audit adjustments to the District's reported, unweighted FTE totaled to a negative 13.3308, but have a potential impact on the District's weighted FTE of a negative 125.5252. Noncompliance related to student transportation resulted in ten findings and a net audit adjustment of a negative 15 students.
Weighted FTE adjustments are presented in our report for illustrative purposes only. They do not take special program caps and allocation factors into account and are not intended to indicate the weighted FTE used to compute the dollar value of audit adjustments, which is the responsibility of the Department of Education (DOE). However, the gross dollar effect of our FTE audit adjustments may be estimated by multiplying the net weighted FTE audit adjustment by the base student allocation amount. For the Polk County District School Board, the estimated gross dollar effect of our FTE audit adjustments is a negative $499,792 (negative 125.5252 times $3,981.61).
We have not estimated the potential dollar effect of our student transportation audit adjustments because there is no equivalent method for making such an estimate. The ultimate resolution of our FTE and student transportation audit adjustments and the computation of their financial impact is the responsibility of DOE.
School District of Polk County
The District was established pursuant to Section 1001.30, Florida Statutes, to provide public educational services for the residents of Polk County. Those services are provided primarily to students attending kindergarten through high school, but also to adults seeking vocational-type training. The District is part of the State system of public education under the general direction and control of the State Board of Education. The geographic boundaries of the District are those of Polk County. The governing body of the District is the District School Board, which is composed of five elected members. The executive officer of the Board is the appointed Superintendent of Schools. For the fiscal year ended June 30, 2007, the District operated 144 schools, 1 virtual school, and 2 District-wide educational programs, reported 92,020.15 FTE, and received approximately $331.9 million in State funding for those FTE.
Florida Education Finance Program
Florida school districts receive State funding through the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP), which was established by the Florida Legislature in 1973. It is the intent of the law "to guarantee to each student in the Florida public school system the availability of programs and services appropriate to his educational needs which are substantially equal to those available to any similar student notwithstanding geographic differences and varying local economic factors." To provide equalization of educational opportunity in Florida, the FEFP formula recognizes (1) varying local property tax bases, (2) varying program cost factors, (3) district cost differentials, and (4) differences in per student cost for equivalent educational programs due to sparsity and dispersion of student population. The funding provided by FEFP is based upon the numbers of individual students participating in particular educational programs. A numerical value is assigned to each student according to the student's hours and days of attendance in those programs. The individual student thus becomes equated to a numerical value known as an unweighted FTE (full-time equivalent student). For example, one student would be reported as one FTE if the student was enrolled in six classes per day at 50 minutes per class for the full 180-day school year (i.e., six classes at 50 minutes each per day is five hours of class a day or 25 hours per week, which equals one FTE).
Any student who is transported by the District must meet one or more of the following conditions in order to be eligible for State transportation funding: live two or more miles from school, be physically handicapped, be a Vocational or Exceptional student who is transported from one school center to another where appropriate programs are provided, or meet the criteria for hazardous walking specified in Section 1006.23(4), Florida Statutes. The District received approximately $23 million in State transportation funding.
The Superintendent's written response to the audit findings is included in the audit report.