Berkeley County School District expands Office of Internal Audit with proposals for new standards

VIDEO: Berkeley County School District expands Office of Internal Audit with proposals for new standards

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Berkeley County School District is setting new standards for its Office of Internal Audit.

The office didn’t exist until January 2018, when the newly promoted Director of Internal Audit was first hired to add an extra layer of financial accountability to district operations amid the Brantley Thomas scandal.

The Office of Internal Audit for the state’s 4th largest school district has since been expanded, with a new internal auditor hired this month to work under the director.

However, all that happened before standards for the office were put in place.

New policies and procedures are being formalized now, going before the school board for a first reading earlier this week.

Proposed Internal Audit Policy: https://go.boarddocs.com/sc/berkeley/Board.nsf/files/BBZH7S47268D/$file/DRAFT%20DIDA%20Internal%20Audit%20Policy%20(New)%205-14-19.pdf

“The policy established the Office of Internal Audit and outlined the goals, objectives, authority, selection, etc.,” said Berkeley County School District Spokeswoman Katie Tanner. “As stated in the policy, the Board shall retain the authority to employ the Director of Internal Audit. The Administration will provide support regarding the employment of the Director of Internal Audit and any associated staff and outlined the responsibility.”

The Brantley Thomas scandal is a prime example of why internal auditors exist in the education realm. The district’s former chief financial officer was convicted in April for converting public school funds for his own personal use.

Berkeley County isn’t the first school district to hire staff focused on these kinds of issues.

Charleston County School District has three current auditors in their internal audit department with three other open positions, according to the district’s website.

Dorchester County District Two does not have a separate audit office, but officials say there is an internal auditor that works directly with schools for support and oversight of finances and other finance staff members are also involved in internal audit responsibilities.

Berkeley County’s Director of Internal Audit will report to the school board and superintendent, according to the proposed internal audit policy.

“The internal audit activity will maintain an unbiased approach that allows it to perform its engagements objectively and in such a manner that it does not subordinate its judgement on audit matters to others,” the administrative rule said.

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