Under its contract with the Board of Agriculture, Rural Assistance Corporation billed the Board for the cost of providing a Statewide mediation service for Kansas farmers and ranchers. Of the $45,233 in billings reviewed during this audit, $4,972 was unallowable under the contract, and an additional $8,777 was questionable. If the Board had more clearly addressed allowability of costs in the contract and had exercised better oversight of the contract, some of the problem areas noted could have been either prevented or discovered earlier in the contract period.
Assessing How Effectively the Department of Social and Rehablilitation Services Handles Reports of Child Abuse and Neglect
The number of child abuse or neglect reports investigated by the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services increased by about 34 percent between fiscal years 1980 and 1990, although the number confirmed declined. Most Department investigations reviewed appeared to be timely and adequate, but about 20 percent were not. Some reports were not investigated at all. Many families that were at risk of abusing or neglecting their children did not receive preventive family services from the Department. Family services were not always successful in preventing out-of-home placements, or in reducing the risk of subsequent abuse or neglect, but in many cases the participating families were uncooperative. Department procedures and management controls were not always effective nor followed. Finally, Department staff surveyed indicated they do not always have adequate resources to do their jobs, which could have contributed to problems noted during the audit.
Kansas’ Foster Care Program, Part I: An Overview of the Program
Over the past 10 years, the law has emphasized providing family services to prevent foster care placements rather than maintain children in foster care indefinitely. The number of children in the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services' custody has risen by more than 20 percent the last three fiscal years. Although the number of people licensed to provide foster care generally has kept up with this increase in children, the number of social workers has not increased correspondingly.The total cost of the foster care program is unknown because the Department's budgeting and accounting system counts only direct payments to foster care providers; it excludes the salaries of social workers who manage the cases. We also noted problems with the accuracy of figures reported by the Department, and cautioned readers accordingly. During the last three years, the amount spent on direct payments to foster care providers increased by about 56 percent (35.2 percent when adjusted for inflation). The amount the Department spends per child varies considerably across the State.
The Companion Animal Program has not been administered, managed, funded or staffed to the extent needed to efficiently and effectively carry out its responsibilities to regulate the companion animal industry. The Animal Health Department has neither established procedures for operating the Program nor provided oversight of the staff responsible for implementing it. The Department has not adequately identified the people it should be regulating, inspected regulated animal breeders and dealers, taken appropriate enforcement actions, or responded to complaints. Fees were not sufficient to support the Program in fiscal years 1989 and 1990, and are not likely to be sufficient to operate the Program in fiscal year 1991, even at very reduced staffing levels.
Highway Patrol’s Oversight of Vehicle Identification Number Inspections
The Highway Patrol has not established adequate procedures for selecting private contractors to do vehicle inspections, and the eligibility criteria it uses to appoint or replace private contractors are not well defined. The Patrol also has not established formal procedures to be followed in conducting an inspection, or adequately monitored the performance of private contractors doing the inspections. Most private contractors we visited did not perform all the steps Patrol officials told us were necessary to complete a vehicle inspection. Despite the lack of controls, we did not find that private designees were overcharging the public or requiring unnecessary inspections. Finally, we found that the Patrol has not implemented recommendations made during the last audit of the inspection program.
An Update of Special Education Programs and Costs in Kansas
Special education enrollments grew by nine percent between fiscal years 1986 and 1990. The most significant increases occurred in the speech and language impaired and gifted programs. Between fiscal years 1986 and 1989 (the latest information available), special education expenditures increased by about 21 percent, mostly because of the growth in salaries and benefits. A large increase in staff in fiscal year 1990 may have caused special education costs to rise as much as 12 percent during that year. Nearly half the student files we examined lacked complete documentation showing that students met the placement criteria or that district staff did all they were required to do in determining students’ eligibility.
The Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services made a grant to Court Appointed Special Advocate of Shawnee County, Inc., to pay travel costs for members of the Permanency Planning Task Force. By making this grant instead of using the normal State expenditure processes, the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services made State financial information inaccurate and increased the risk of improper use of State moneys in return for questionable savings in processing time. Because the Department did not conduct certain grant oversight procedures, about half of the grant moneys were not handled in accordance with the grant requirements.
An Update of Tax Incentives or Reductions Available to Kansas Businesses
Between 1987 and 1990, the State granted or significantly changed 42 business tax incentives or reductions. These 42 items included changes to incentives for various types of taxes, such as property, retailers' sales, income, and privilege, and severance taxes. Fiscal impact information was available for 34 of the 42 tax incentives or reductions identified, and the estimated annual cost to the State for those 34 items was approximately $70 million.
Examining the Costs of Providing Staff Resources for the Kansas Silver-Haired Legislature (100-hour audit)
The direct cost to the State for the 1989 session of the Silver-Haired Legislature was about $12,300 in staff time and other expenditures. Of that total, about $11,000 was for time spent by personnel in the Department on Aging, the Legislative Research Department, the Revisor of Statutes' Office, and other legislative staff. The State may also incur some indirect costs related to the Silver-Haired Legislature, but agencies' involvement with the group appears to be declining. Finally, a number of legislative staff said that the November Silver-Haired Legislature session sometimes conflicts with their primary responsibilities.
Wichita School District: Personnel Practices and Management of Resources
Wichita's overall costs and staffing levels did not appear to be out-of-line compared with the four other large districts in Kansas and similarly sized districts in the Midwest. Wichita appeared to have fewer teachers and more support personnel per student than the average in the other school districts in Kansas. In addition, the district appeared to have a number of elementary schools that could potentially be consolidated. The district documented most of its personnel actions, although documentation was sometimes insufficient for teacher transfers, evaluations, and informal Affirmative Action complaints. The district's personnel practices appeared to be in compliance with most federal and State laws, but did not always comply with certification requirements or with its written procedures for carrying out Board of Education policies.
Examining Increases in Expenditures for Adult Care Homes
Between 1982 and 1988, Medicaid reimbursements to all adult care homes increased by 46 percent, noticeably less than the 65 percent increase in total reported costs for those homes. The Medicaid reimbursement system has changed in ways that have both increased and decreased State costs. The removal of the limit on total costs by the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services caused State costs to increase, and a change in the way property costs were reimbursed led to a decrease in State costs. For adult care homes in our sample, increases in health care costs--primarily because of increases in salaries and benefits for nurses and aides--had the largest impact on cost increases.
Examining Out-District Tuition Expenditures for Leavenworth County (100-hour audit)
Leavenworth County is paying the correct amount in out-district tuition for its residents who are taking classes at community colleges and Washburn University. The County's budgeted out-district tuition expenditures for 1988, 1989, and 1990 appeared to be reasonable based on information available to officials when they set those budgets. However, the County in essence double-counted the expenses associated with repayment of short-term financing it obtained to meet a 1989 out-district tuition fund shortfall. As a result, the mill levy for 1990 was set at a level to collect about $160,000 more in taxes than needed. At the time of this audit, the County had not yet begun formulating its 1991 budget. Using the most current revenue and expenditure information available--including unaudited 1989 data--we projected that the County's 1991 out-district tuition expenditures would range from about $600,000 to about $660,000.
Comparing Budgeted and Actual Expenditures for Funerals and Burials for Public Assistance Recipients
During the first half of fiscal year 1990, the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services reduced about one-fourth of its burial assistance payments because the decedent's estate had assets available to help reduce the Department's contribution or because the decedent's family had resources that exceeded the limits established by the Department for full burial assistance. It appears that funeral home and cemetery reimbursements are handled in about the same way as the Department's reimbursements for doctors and similar providers, although other providers may not have to attempt to collect funds from estates as often as funeral homes. The burial assistance program's actual expenditures have exceeded its appropriations each year since fiscal year 1986, and these deficits were always met by transferring funds from other assistance programs to the burial program.
Compliance and Control Audit: Youth Center at Topeka
Most facilities provided all or substantially all the alcohol and drug abuse treatment services they proposed to provide with the grant moneys supplied by the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services' Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services. For five of 27 grants we reviewed, the grantees failed to provide the levels of service they proposed, although each provided some portion of those services. Of those five, the Valley Hope program provided the least service in proportion to its grant objectives. Outpatient programs at these five facilities received only about eight percent of the total funds for the 27 grants. All five facilities have had their grants renewed for the current fiscal year.
Criteria for Awarding Venture Capital Moneys Through Kansas Venture Capital, Inc.
Federal and State laws, and Kansas Venture Capital, Inc., Board policies place certain limits on the types and amounts of investments the firm can make. In addition, the firm's staff have numerous unwritten guidelines they consider in evaluating potential investments. In general, Kansas Venture Capital, Inc., appeared to follow the specific federal, State, and Board requirements. We were unable to fully assess whether the firm adhered to all its unwritten guidelines; in many instances, the firm did not keep documentation showing the kinds of analyses and determinations called for by those guidelines. Many of the basic criteria other state programs used in making investment decisions were similar to the criteria used in Kansas.
Analyzing the Revenues and Expenditures of the Kansas Lottery
During fiscal year 1989, the Kansas Lottery did not operate as efficiently as possible. Overall, the Lottery had a deficit of $5.1 million, which it covered by spending down most of its retained earnings from the previous year. Because of requirements in the law, the Lottery will not be able to cover such deficits in the future and still meet its statutory obligations for transferring money to the State Gaming Revenues Fund. As a percent of ticket sales, the Lottery's fiscal year 1989 administrative costs were nearly four times as high as the average of four other state lotteries we reviewed. If the Kansas Lottery's administrative expenses had been the same as the average of the other states, it would have spent about $7.6 million less in fiscal year 1989. The Lottery has budgeted reductions in administrative expenses during the next two years, but the percent of ticket revenues the Kansas Lottery spends for some items like salaries and wages, telecommunications, and travel still will be significantly higher than the average of the other states.
Caseload Increases That May Be Attributable to the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services’ New Comprehensive Automated Eligibility and Child Support Enforcement System (100-hour audit)
The Department's revised fiscal year 1990 caseload figures for the Aid to Dependent Children Program were primarily based on projected expenditure data, not on caseload information accumulated by the new computer system. Although Department officials initially thought the old and new computer systems may have counted caseloads differently, they later concluded there were no differences between how the two systems accumulated per-month caseload figures. As a result, it appears that the new computer system does not account for any of the increase in caseloads that the Department recently projected for fiscal year 1990.
Comprehensive Automated Eligibility and Child Support Enforcement System (CAECSES)
The Comprehensive Automated Eligibility and Child Support Enforcement System was initially expected to be completed in two years at a cost of $11 - $13 million. The System took an additional year to complete, primarily because the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services underestimated the amount of time needed to add the medical benefits component to the System. The System cost more than twice as much as expected because early estimates did not include all costs of developing such a system, and underestimated the hardware requirements and the number of State staff involved in the System's development. The State's share of System costs rose because of unanticipated financing costs and the lack of a federally approved link with the judicial branch. The ongoing cost of operating the System will be substantial. Some problems remain with its operation, although the Department is working to resolve them.
Property Taxes in Large Sample of Cities and Counties
Nearly two-thirds of the 50 cities and counties reviewed during this audit levied higher property taxes in the reappraisal year than they had in the previous year. These increases ranged from 0.02 percent to more than 50 percent. All but five of the increases complied with State laws regarding property tax levies during the reappraisal year. Those five cities and counties exceeded their maximum allowable levies, but the levies were only $2 to $721 higher than allowed by State law
A Detailed Review of Property Tax Levy Increases for the Reappraisal Year in Leavenworth County and Hutchinson
Both Leavenworth County and Hutchinson raised their property tax levies for 1990 over 1989 levels by significant amounts. Although these increases complied with the Tax Lid Law, both localities made changes to avoid the property tax limitations of that Law. Both local government units were able to rearrange their funding sources and use exceptions in the Law to increase property taxes during the reappraisal year.