S.F. schools get perfect score in audit

By Jill Tucker | SF Chronicle

Good government doesn't usually make the news, but we'll make an exception for especially good government.

The San Francisco school district just got back the results of its annual financial audit and not only did it pass (not unusual), but it also passed with squeaky-clean flying colors (very, very unusual, if not unheard of, among school districts).

The no-findings audit means the auditors couldn't find anything wrong. Nothing.

"I've never seen an audit with no findings," Superintendent Richard Carranza said Wednesday, adding that he's worked for three school districts over several years.

School board member Jill Wynns also said she's never seen such a perfect audit - in her 20 years on the board.

Even the auditors said they've never seen it.

District Deputy Superintendent Myong Leigh, with 12 years of San Francisco Unified budgeting and finances under his belt, said it was "unprecedented."

Usually, there are at least a couple of nitpicky paperwork problems, district officials said.

That might include minor lapses in keeping perfect attendance records at every school for after-school participation, for example. Or incomplete time sheets from employees paid in part with federal dollars, which means they have to document precisely how much time they spent on the federal dime and how much from other funds.

Carranza praised the district's budget office as well as all the district workers who dotted every "i" and crossed every "t."

"It's significant," he said. Then, smiling, he thought of a better word. "It's huge."

In short, the minor details matter when public workers are spending taxpayer money, and it's the rare school district that follows every rule on every piece of paper.