East County College district sets 15-year record for spotless audits

For the 15th year in a row, independent auditors who reviewed the finances of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District and its Proposition V bond funding gave the highest opinion possible of the district’s fiscal practices.

The Governing Board received the audit reports last week for the district, the Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges, and the district’s auxiliary. At the request of the Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee, a separate auditor reviewed the finances of Prop. V, the $398 million construction bond approved by East County voters in 2012, and also gave a positive report.

“The spotless audit reports reflect our efforts to spend taxpayer money wisely and to be transparent in how we handle our finances,” said Cindy L. Miles, district chancellor. “This didn’t come easily. They are the results of lots of effort by our fiscal team and many people throughout the district.”

The “unmodified” opinion by Christy White Associates, a San Diego accountancy firm, is the best type to be issued from an external auditor, indicating no questioned costs during the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2018.

The auditors CliftonLarsonAllen also reported no deficiencies in the Prop. V finances.

The district’s audit report noted that the major economic factor affecting the district’s finances is the fiscal condition of the state of California, since the district receives almost 92 percent of its funding from the state. State analysts say the state is better prepared to address an economic downturn than it has been in decades, the report noted.

Another factor is the expected increase in employer contributions to the CalSTRS and CalPERS pension funds, which are expected to continue to rise. The auditor said the district’s post-employment benefits trust fund and reserves helps to protect against those future cost increases.

The district’s budget for 2018-19 is $419.6 million, including almost $148 million for Prop. V construction projects. The major project underway this year is the Visual and Performing Arts Center at Grossmont College, set to open this fall. Other projects are set to begin construction this year, including the Ornamental Horticulture Complex and the enhanced Veterans and Students Center at Cuyamaca College.

Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges, located in eastern San Diego County, serve almost 30,000 students. For more information about the district and its colleges, go to www.gcccd.edu.