The idea of the audit can invite stress, and it’s understandable to feel daunted by the need to address compliance and other issues while you’re focused on the day-to-day aspects of growing a school. The Charter School Audits Guide Preparing Your School for the Annual Audit offers month-by-month breakdowns schools can use to stave off overwhelm. The key is preparing a little bit at a time.
Here’s what the plan looks like:
As seen in the chart above, month one is dedicated to the fiscal audit overall. That’s because month one is when schools have just completed the previous year’s audit, so the first steps are about how to move forward from there.
For a detailed look at previous months, click the links below:
Month 8 – Skip it! Focus on your back-to-school efforts
Month 9: Facilities
A facility audit, often referred to as a “facility inventory,” entails a thorough evaluation of all your facility’s assets. A well-executed facility audit can provide invaluable insights into your school’s home and whether it aligns with your mission and plans for growth.
The overarching objective of the facility audit is to weigh the value of your facility’s assets against the potential costs of replacement—or even relocation entirely. It also serves as a forecasting tool for projecting future maintenance expenses.
Here’s a breakdown of what you’ll need to consider when conducting your facility audit:
Walk Your Facility
Walk through your facility, taking note of any alterations or necessary renovations.
Meet with Your Landlord
Walk your facility with your landlord for a joint review of your facility’s condition to discuss upkeep and improvements.
Read through your lease and other agreements. Make adjustments where necessary to ensure that contractual terms align with your school’s evolving needs.
Plan for Growth
Analyze how your school’s projected growth aligns with your current lease terms. Assess whether purchasing a building might be a more advantageous long-term option.
If Purchasing is the Best Option, Start on Your Space Plan
If purchasing property emerges as the best path forward, you can begin your ideal “Space Plan”.
Here’s what to include:
Classroom Requirements: Determine the number of classrooms needed to accommodate your growing enrollment.
Facilities: Consider the necessary facilities, including bathrooms, hallways, and office spaces.
Mission-Aligned Spaces: Identify spaces essential to fulfilling your school’s mission.
Auditing your facility is key in making the best choices for your school’s growth. If you decide to buy, next steps include learning about the school building marketplace, the planning process, and the four primary funding structures that charter schools use to finance facilities: cash, banks, bonds, and long-term leases. You can watch a free overview here, with live Q&A: Facilities Financing: Money to Buy Your School
Since the company’s inception in 2006, Charter School Capital has been committed to the success of charter schools. We help schools access, leverage, and sustain the resources charter schools need to thrive, allowing them to focus on what matters most – educating students. Our depth of experience working with charter school leaders and our knowledge of how to address charter school financial and operational needs have allowed us to provide over $1.8 billion in support of 600 charter schools that have educated over 1,027,000 students across the country. For more information on how we can support your charter school, contact us. We’d love to work with you!