TRENTON, N.J. – Acknowledging Covid-19 disruptions in schools, the Assembly advanced legislation extending the deadline to complete this year’s annual audit by two months.
Each of the nearly 600 school districts in New Jersey must submit annual audits of their accounts and financial transactions to the board of education and the Department of Education.
“Due to the pandemic, it has become difficult to conduct on-site audits because only a limited number of people are allowed inside schools at one time,” said the bill’s sponsor, Assemblyman Ron Dancer (R-Ocean). “Audits affect a school district’s budget so we need to ensure they are accurate and complete.”
Under the bill (A4603), schools have until Jan. 31, 2021 to complete the audit and until Feb. 5, 2021 to submit it to the Commissioner of Education. In order to wrap up next year’s budgeting process on time, schools must send some information in the form of an audit summary to the Department of Education no later than Jan. 4, 2021.
Further compounding the issue, accounting firms responsible for school audits also conduct audits of municipalities, which were delayed by the Division of Local Government Services earlier this year.
“They have pushed back the municipal timeline, which impacts the school district’s timeline,” explained Dancer. “We need to conduct both audits, but we need to be more flexible in our approach.”
There are approximately 2,500 public schools in the state.