School districts will have additional time to complete annual audits

School districts will have additional time to complete annual audits

Ron Dancer

TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblyman Ron Dancer’s bill extending the deadline for school districts to complete this year’s annual audit by two months was signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy today.

Each of the nearly 600 school districts in New Jersey must submit annual audits of their accounts and financial transactions to their board of education and the Department of Education.

“Accounting for the unprecedented coronavirus disruptions in schools is essential to ensuring complete and accurate audits. It has become difficult to conduct on-site audits because only a limited number of people are allowed inside schools at one time,” said Dancer (R-Ocean). “By extending their deadlines we are giving them the same opportunity afforded to other agencies, including municipalities.”

The Division of Local Government Services delayed municipal budgets earlier this year. Further complicating the issue, accounting firms responsible for municipal audits also conduct school audits.

“They pushed back the municipal timeline, which impacts the school district’s timeline,” explained Dancer. “The audits play an all-too important role in creating a school district’s budget and now they will have the time they need to resolve this year’s unique challenges.”

Under the new law, 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.