Com­mit­tee re­ceives au­dit re­sults

Santa Clarita Com­mu­nity Col­lege District re­ceives best rat­ing pos­si­ble, pub­lic ac­coun­tant says

The Signal - - News - By Bren­non Dix­son Sig­nal Staff Writer bdix­[email protected]­

Col­lege of the Canyons Chan­cel­lor Di­anne Van Hook joined col­lege stake­hold­ers and mem­bers of the in­de­pen­dent cit­i­zens’ bond over­sight com­mit­tee Wednes­day to hear the re­sults of the au­dits that ex­am­ined COC’s two most re­cent bond mea­sures.

For the 12th year in a row, the Santa Clarita Com­mu­nity Col­lege District re­ceived an un­mod­i­fied opin­ion for the Mea­sure M and E au­dits, mean­ing the district has prop­erly ac­counted for all bond ex­pen­di­tures, ac­cord­ing to Pub­lic Ac­coun­tant Bill Rauch.

The district re­ceived the best rat­ing pos­si­ble, Rauch said, not­ing that both bond au­dits con­tained no ad­just­ments, au­dit find­ings, ques­tioned costs or in­stances of non­com­pli­ance.

Vavrinek, Trine, Day & Co. LLP — the firm that con­ducted the fi­nan­cial and per­for­mance au­dits — tested ap­prox­i­mately 40 per­cent of the ex­pen­di­tures that per­tain to the $160 mil­lion Mea­sure M and an­other 78 per­cent of ex­pen­di­tures that re­late to the $230 mil­ion Mea­sure E, which over­sight com­mit­tee chair Ni­cholas Len­tini de­scribed as a stag­ger­ing amount.

It’s very com­fort­ing to know the firm was able to look at a wide va­ri­ety of bond ex­pen­di­tures, said Len­i­tini, be­fore adding that the in­de­pen­dent au­dit al­lows the com­mit­tee to en­sure the com­mu­nity that their tax dol­lars are be­ing used re­spon­si­bly and ef­fec­tively.

Prior to the com­mit­tee’s vote to ac­cept the au­dit find­ings for Mea­sure M, lo­cal res­i­dent Stephen Pet­zold took to the podium to ques­tion if the bond was be­ing used for ad­min­is­tra­tive salaries.

“These are ques­tions the over­sight com­mit­tee — I hope — would be ask­ing Mr. Rauch,” Pet­zold said be­fore Len­tini quickly replied.

“The over­sight com­mit­tee has been very happy with Mr. Rauch and his firm’s over­sight,” the com­mit­tee chair said.

Af­ter mem­bers moved to ac­cept the Mea­sure E au­dit, the cit­i­zens over­sight com­mit­tee also ap­proved a res­o­lu­tion af­firm­ing the col­lege’s com­pli­ance with state law, which col­lege trus­tees will re­view at a fu­ture board meet­ing.

Shortly af­ter the vote, Jim Schrage — the col­lege’s vice pres­i­dent of fa­cil­i­ties plan­ning, op­er­a­tions and con­struc­tion — took the podium to high­light the projects that have been funded by the Mea­sure M and E bonds since they were re­spec­tively passed in 2006 and 2016.

Some projects could be com­pleted as soon as two weeks from now, Schrage said, while oth­ers — like the up­date to the West PE build­ing — are ex­pected to break ground in March.

The sci­ence build­ing at the Canyon Coun­try cam­pus, which has been highly an­tic­i­pated by Van Hook and COC of­fi­cials since it was an­nounced, is still on track to be com­pleted by the start of spring 2020, Schrage said.

The four-level, 55,000-square-foot cen­ter will be de­voted pri­mar­ily to chem­i­cal, bi­o­log­i­cal and phys­i­cal sciences and will house lec­ture rooms, labs, study spa­ces and more, ac­cord­ing to col­lege of­fi­cials.

“We’re go­ing to take oc­cu­pancy in Oc­to­ber of this year, equip it, do our dry runs and get pre­pared for ac­tual in­struc­tion,” Shrage said, “so when we open it up there won’t be any sur­prises.”

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