School districts that submit their annual comprehensive financial report after the Feb. 5 statutory deadline but before Tuesday, March 15, will not suffer any adverse findings by the New Jersey Department of Education, the department announced in a memo.
The NJDOE announced in a Nov. 17, 2021, broadcast that P.L.2021,c.256 (S3881), signed by Gov. Phil Murphy on Oct. 27, 2021, extended the submission due date of the ACFR to Feb. 5. At the time of the broadcast, it was expected that auditors would have received requisite GASB No. 75 data with adequate time to complete the ACFRs by the deadline.
However, as of the middle of January, the data was still unavailable, and it has come to the NJDOE’s attention that the New Jersey Division of Pension and Benefits anticipates releasing the data the week of Jan. 24, 2022.
That release date will not allow adequate time for auditors to review the data and complete the ACFRs in time to meet the extended submission due date.
Because the Feb. 5 due date is statutory, the commissioner of education cannot extend the deadline. However, for districts that submit an ACFR after the deadline but before March 15, the NJDOE will not:
- Penalize any school district score for purposes of the New Jersey Quality Single Accountability Continuum.
- Consider a school district to have violated J.S.A. 18A:7A-55 a. (8) late audit submission as a factor in the appointment of a state monitor.
This additional flexibility should allow local educational agencies and independent auditors to successfully complete their work, inclusive of the reporting standards of GASB Statement No. 75. The NJDOE encourages schools and auditors to work collaboratively toward this goal to ensure a timely and complete audit submission.