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3 golden objects Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Legislative Auditor - Financial Audit Division

Report Summary

Management Letter

Department of Children, Families & Learning

Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2002

Key Findings and Recommendations:

The Department of Children, Families & Learning (CFL) relied on one employee to maintain its critical information systems. In fiscal year 2002, these subsystems processed over $5.4 billion of state and federal school aids. Reliance on a single employee's knowledge for the ongoing operation of these critical systems is a significant weakness in the department's internal control structure. We recommended that the department document the design of the systems and that it cross train other programmers to ensure the ongoing maintenance of these critical systems.

CFL's contracts with it s test development vendor did not comply with certain contracting policies. CFL repeatedly did not have a contract in place before the start of work by the test development vendor. By allowing the contractor to perform services before the execution of the contract or the encumbrance of funds, the department placed the state at unnecessary risk. We recommended that the department fully execute contracts before allowing work to commence and that the department encumber funds before incurring obligations.

The department could not provide documentation to support administrative salaries charged to federal school aid programs. It also could not support all of the figures in its annual State Per Pupil Expenditure report to the federal government. We recommended that the department maintain documentation to support its administrative charges and the figures it uses in its reports to the federal government.

CFL did not comply with certain requirements for the Migrant Education Program. It used about $42,000 of Migrant Education funds to reimburse a school district for a portion of a deficit in the school district's summer food service program. The school district's summer food program provided meals to a broader population than children eligible for the Migrant Education Program. We recommended that the department only allow school districts to use Migrant Education funds in accordance with federal requirements, and that it seek reimbursement of the funds paid for meals served to ineligible people.

Management letters address internal control weaknesses and noncompliance issues found during our annual audit of the state's financial statements and federally funded programs. The scope of our work in individual agencies is limited. During the fiscal year 2002 audit, our scope at the Department of Children, Families & Learning included state and federal school aid payments, totaling approximately $4.5 billion, and nearly $600 million of federally funded programs, including Title I, Special Education, Child Care, and various nutrition programs.

Office of the Legislative Auditor, Room 140, 658 Cedar St., St. Paul, MN 55155 : or 651‑296‑4708