Ohio Education Update

    View Author January 2004
    New Contract Certification

    Effective January 1, 2004, before a school district (among other political subdivisions and entities) awards a contract for goods, services or construction, to be paid for in whole or in part with State funds, it must first check to make sure that there is no unresolved finding for recovery (by the State Auditor) against the "person" (i.e., an individual, corporation, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, or association) with whom the proposed contract is to be made. For this purpose, the State Auditor has created a link on its website to a database of findings for recovery dating back to January 1, 2001, as required by new Section 9.24 of the Revised Code. The database permits searches for the names of contracting parties and, if there has been a finding for recovery, indicates whether it has been resolved. Care should be taken in searching the database. Important information can be missed if search terms are entered incorrectly. The website does permit production of a list of all unresolved findings for recovery.

    If a search of the database reveals no unresolved findings for recovery against a proposed contracting party, the State Auditor's website provides a link to a printable certification of that fact. It is recommended that this certification be printed and signed by the treasurer of the board of education where indicated, and kept on file for audit purposes.

    If a search reveals any unresolved findings for recovery, the school district should not award the contract until such time as the finding is resolved. In such a case, the proposed contracting party should resolve the finding for recovery with the State Attorney General, who will then certify such resolution to the State Auditor, who will, in turn, update the website database. As stated in the State Auditor's Technical Bulletin No. 2003-09 (dated December 23, 2003), the State Auditor intends to update the database "upon receipt of the certification from the Attorney General."

    Many questions will undoubtedly arise as this new law is put into practice. Until such questions are resolved by the State Auditor, State Attorney General, or perhaps the General Assembly, it is recommended that you contact the attorney with whom you work for further guidance and clarification.