The Gahanna-Jefferson Public School District has been recognized for the 20th consecutive year for excellence in financial reporting.

The Gahanna-Jefferson Public School District has been recognized for the 20th consecutive year for excellence in financial reporting.

Jamie Nicholson, state representative for the Ohio Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA), presented a Certificate of Achievement for excellence in financial reporting to treasurer Julio Valladares during the Oct. 11 school board meeting.

Nicholson, who's also Pataskala's finance director, said the district's accomplishment is impressive.

"I'd say they are out in front of their peers," he told ThisWeek. "Not every city or village does a CAFR (comprehensive annual financial report). There's additional work. It's a commitment of time and effort."

Valladares, who has been the district's treasurer since 2003, said the program requirement involves rigorous checks and balances and accounting standards.

"It's a good thing to receive," he said. "It shows we are fiscally responsible in safeguarding the community's investment."

The Certificate of Achievement program has been in operation since 1946 to encourage and assist governments to prepare financial reports of the highest quality for the benefit of citizens and other parties with a vital interest in an agency's finances.

Nicholson said it has gained widespread recognition as the premier indicator of excellence in governmental accounting and financial reporting.

He said G-J's record reflects the professionalism and commitment of numerous individuals, as well as many hours of hard work.

"It also reflects a high degree of dedication and leadership on the part of the district's elected officials," Nicholson said. "It is the hope of the Government Finance Officers Association that this award will serve as an example, encouraging others to strive for the same high standards in their own financial reports."

To earn the achievement, he said, the district substantially had to conform to the program's demanding criteria, which go well-beyond the minimum requirements of generally accepted accounting principles.

Program participants submit copies of their comprehensive annual financial report to the Certificate of Achievement program for an in-depth review and evaluation by two members selected from an impartial panel of government finance officers, independent certified public accountants, educators and others with specialized expertise and experience in governmental accounting and financial reporting.

Reports also are reviewed and evaluated by members of the GFOA's professional staff.

Only those reports that are judged by all reviewers to have substantially met the program's criteria are awarded the Certificate of Achievement.