Scope and Methodology
The Joint Legislative Audit Committee (Audit Committee) directed the California State Auditor to conduct an audit of Sacramento Unified. Specifically, it directed us to review Sacramento Unified’s fiscal health and budgeting practices. The table below lists the objectives that the Audit Committee approved and the methods we used to address those objectives.
|1||Review and evaluate the laws, rules, and regulations significant to the audit objectives.||
|2||Determine the scope of Sacramento Unified’s short‑term and long‑term financial problems.||
Review Sacramento Unified’s revenues, expenditures, and budget projections for the last five years to determine the following:
a. Which actions that Sacramento Unified took or failed to take that were the primary causes of its current financial crisis.
b. Which of Sacramento Unified’s key decisions caused the financial crisis, who made those key decisions, and why those decisions were made.
c. Whether Sacramento Unified took reasonable actions to reduce its budget shortfalls.
d. What Sacramento Unified needs to do to resolve both the immediate financial crisis and the root causes of the crisis.
|4||Determine what financial or budgeting practices Sacramento Unified needs to improve to avoid this situation in the future.||
|5||Evaluate the recommendations made by the county office superintendent and Sacramento Unified’s response to those recommendations.||
|6||Determine what Sacramento Unified is doing in the short term to minimize the budget reductions impact on its students.||Reviewed actions taken by Sacramento Unified to address its fiscal condition, including layoffs of staff.|
|7||Review and assess any other issues that are significant to the audit.||
Sources: Analysis of the Audit Committee’s audit request number 2019‑108, and information and documentation identified in the table column titled Method.
Assessment of Data Reliability
In performing this audit, we relied on electronic data files that the California Department of Education makes publicly available. These electronic data files relate to school district salaries and benefits for certificated staff. The U.S. Government Accountability Office, whose standards we are statutorily obligated to follow, requires us to assess the sufficiency and appropriateness of computer‑processed information we use to support our findings, conclusions, or recommendations. To perform this assessment, we relied on accuracy and completeness testing that the California Department of Education has completed. In addition, we conducted logic testing to ensure that the data in the electronic data files were appropriate and consistent with information that Sacramento Unified published in its budget and audited financial documents. Based on that assessment, we considered the information sufficiently reliable for our purposes.
We also relied on information from Sacramento Unified’s accounting system. To assess the sufficiency and appropriateness of this information, we compared the information to the district’s audited financial statements. Based on that assessment, we considered the information sufficiently reliable for our purposes.