Ministry audit costs SD42 $100k

School District No. 42 is out close to $100,000 after an audit of the district’s special education students by the provincial Ministry of Education found discrepancies with the district’s reporting.

However, district staff say they are pleased with the results of the audit.

“I know it sounds odd to be pleased with losing $100,000, but relative to what it could have been, we did very well,” said district superintendent Jan Unwin. “Other districts have lost millions.”

Students identified as having special education needs are provided additional funding from the provincial government – more than $5 million in annual funding locally. The Ministry of Education reviewed the district’s paperwork to determine if the students the district billed the ministry were eligible. The files of 419 students were reviewed as part of the audit.

The files related to students who were categorized as physically disabled or chronically health impaired, and those with intensive behaviour interventions or serious mental illness.

“It was extremely grueling,” said. “Our staff spent hundreds of hours working on this.”

The Ministry of Education announced in December that it would be conducting the audit, and spent the week of Jan. 17 combing over the district’s records.

“No matter how well you have done, no matter what, they find something, and they take money away, Unwin said in December when the audit was announced. “At least, that’s been our experience.”

Unwin said it had been more than 10 years since the Ministry of Education has conducted a special education audit in the district.