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Lee County, NC: Performance Audit and Financial Review

Lee County, North Carolina retained Evergreen Solutions to conduct a comprehensive Performance Audit of Lee County departments as well as a detailed Financial Review of Lee County Public Schools (LCPS). The first section of the study, the financial review of school operations, aimed at assisting Lee County Public Schools in continuing to succeed and improve in its primary mission, the education of all students. The second part of the study, the performance audit, focused on the organizational, operational, and financial efficiency and effectiveness of Lee County operations from a departmental standpoint. In the end, Evergreen presented findings and recommendations to key stakeholders on containing costs, improving management strategies, and improving the overall efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity of the county and the school district.

The initial phase of the study involved careful analysis of Lee County Public Schools. According to statistics provided on Lee County Public Schools, approximately 9,654 students were educated in LCPS in the 2010-11 school year. The district consists of 16 schools and employs approximately 1,258 people, including 621 classroom teachers. Evergreen conducted a comprehensive financial review of school operations and carefully scrutinized the district based on available financial information. Specifically, the financial review included summarizing the status of each district fund source; reporting on the status of district financial resources; analyzing Lee County’s funding of Lee County Public Schools; and recommending strategies for improvements in the use of funds in Lee County Public Schools.

Concurrent with the review of school district financial operations, Evergreen conducted phase two of the study; an analysis of county government operations in each department. Specifically, Evergreen reviewed past reports and existing data sources (policies, organizational charts, financial audits, job descriptions, salary schedules, employee handbook, etc.), conducted interviews, and established a channel for community input to begin the analysis. Next, Evergreen’s team benchmarked Lee County operations to operations in peer districts using comparative data and statistical analysis. Pairing the outcome of this analysis with findings from on-site reviews and interviews, Evergreen determined areas where the county could make improvements to existing processes, plans, and procedures.