A “significant deficiency” was found during the Fiscal Year 2015 audit for EduKan, the online education consortium that serves six western Kansas community colleges. However, a management letter from the auditors confirms that problems in 2015 ended after Dr. Adam John took over as chief executive officer last summer.
Dr. John mentioned the finding when he attended the Barton Community College Board of Trustees study session earlier this month. The concern was that EduKan lacked methodology to ensure that all expenditures were warranted and necessary.
“It really boiled down to having a stronger system of checks and balances, with some increased transparency,” John told the Great Bend Tribune.
However, no money was missing, according to Barton’s Dean of Administration Mark Dean. EduKan’s enrollment grew by 2 percent, and its assets also increased. Total net assets for FY 2015 were $493,813 as compared to $474,066 for FY 2014. End of year cash for FY 2015 was $512,821 as compared to $465,722 for FY 2014.
A “significant deficiency” is not as serious as a “material weakness,” but it is important enough to merit concern by those charged with governance. The management letter from certified public accounts D. McMillen Chartered confirms that after the June arrival of the new chief executive officer, “the areas of abuse were identified and corrective measures were initiated.”
The trustees met again this week, on Tuesday, and approved the audit. Barton President Dr. Carl Heilman said, “the (earlier) concern is water under the bridge.”
BCC is one-sixth owner of EduKan. Six community colleges (Barton County, Colby, Dodge City, Garden City, Pratt, and Seward County) formed a partnership in 1998 to allow them to offer online education at an affordable price. However, each of the colleges has since added its own online program, the largest being BCC’s BartOnline.
When he met with trustees, John said he has been “repairing a fractured relationship” between EduKan and Barton. He also said EduKan is looking for “a new model that works today instead of competing with ourselves.”