Congratulations on your State Auditor’s Office Stewardship Award Bellingham School District No. 501

Bellingham School District SASA

Pictured here, left to right: School Board President Kelly Bashaw; Superintendent Dr. Greg Baker; State Auditor Pat McCarthy

State Auditor Pat McCarthy was pleased to recognize Bellingham School District on June 20, 2018 as an outstanding example of commitment to safeguarding public resources. District leadership has consistently demonstrated dedication to risk evaluation and resolution, compliance with applicable requirements and transparency, especially during the audit process.

Many times over the years, the District has performed risk assessments of new or changing processes. For instance, this last year Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Operations Simone Sangster and Director of Business Services Kathryn Weilage led the risk assessment for online fundraising. This process was then used by other districts. Sangster and Weilage dedicated significant resources to identify best practices and share them with principals and staff throughout the District. Additionally, for the District’s most recent audit, Accountant Susan Swan took several steps to address prior audit recommendations regarding Associated Student Body (ASB) activities. Not only did District officials ensure they fully understood the recommendations, they involved staff in a districtwide determination and implementation of controls beyond what the audit recommended.

Bellingham School District No. 501

Pictured here left to right: Team Bellingham Local Audit Manager Deena Garza; State Auditor Pat McCarthy; Team Bellingham Assistant State Auditor Scott Hylton; Bellingham School District No. 501 Accountant Susan Swan; Bellingham School District No. 501 Accounting Supervisor Liz Crocker; Bellingham School District No. 501 Director of Business Services Kathryn Weilage; Bellingham School District No. 501 Asst. Supervisor of Finance and Operations Simone Sangster

For the annual financial statement audit, the District prepares and retains all source documentation in an organized format, showing all preparation and review processes. This makes the audit process much more efficient and is a best practice. 

Pat also commended the District for its ongoing communication with our Office to ensure it is following any guidance available for new financial statement standards or projects the District is considering. It is clear District leadership understands the role of public stewardship and wants to be accountable to the public through continuous improvement.

Thank you for your hard work and dedication to the residents of Washington state!