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State auditors give Sunnyside schools squeaky clean report

After being dinged in past years with findings by the state auditor's office, the Sunnyside School District's books received a clean bill of health according to the state's most recent audit.

"We're thrilled there are no findings," said Superintendent Dr. Rick Cole. "Historically the findings have been in accountability and to have none in accountability is a step in the right direction."

The latest state accountability audit was released yesterday, Monday, and covers the years 2007 through 2009 for the Sunnyside School District.

An accountability audit goes above and beyond bookkeeping figures and includes an inspection of how a public entity, such as the Sunnyside School District, goes about its day-to-day business.

Yesterday's 10-page report did touch on previous audit findings of accountability errors in the district, but generally praised Sunnyside schools for the progress they have made.

Both of the previous findings discussed in the report released this week were first reported by state auditors back in 2008.

"The district has substantially resolved the issues," the auditor's office wrote in yesterday's newest report.

There were two points of concern auditors still have with the Sunnyside School District. Neither, though, are listed as a finding.

One involved a credit card receipt and a travel voucher that could not be found. The other involved documentation the district did not have showing that a nutrition co-op it participates in is eligible to provide a service in exchange for federal funds.

Cole says the co-op, which buys food for several school districts, is cleared to do business with federal money but the district couldn't produce a document saying so when asked by auditors.

Despite the two areas of concern, Cole said it represents a great step forward for Sunnyside schools to not receive an audit finding.

"They looked at every expenditure we made and they were pleased with the progress we've made," Cole says of the feedback he received from auditors.

Cole says the district took to heart the findings issued in past years.

"We made a lot of changes based on the recommendations of auditors," he said. "There is staff inside the system now who monitor the expenditures very closely. We put systems in place that really monitor what's going on."

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