The Whitehall City School District again has been awarded one of the industry's top honors for its financial accounting and reporting.

The Whitehall City School District again has been awarded one of the industry's top honors for its financial accounting and reporting.

Earlier this month, Kevin Servick, central Ohio regional liaison with the state auditor's office, presented the district with the auditor's Award with Distinction for excellence in financial reporting.

For Steve McAfee, who has been the district's treasurer for almost a year, it means he is continuing with the office's long-held tradition of being well-decorated and consistently awarded.

"This is the second time I've presented this award to the district," Servick said during the board's June 13 meeting. "This award is the highest award our office gives out. ... So kudos."

The auditor's office audits some 5,700 state and local government agencies in Ohio every year, Servick said, and presents slightly more than 100 awards with distinction.

"So really, it's the best you can do," he said. "Congratulations."

McAfee gave outgoing assistant treasurer Diane Spears the honor of accepting the award. She took little credit, applauding the rest of her office and those within the district who also contributed to the award, including former treasurer Tim Penton.

Spears is retiring at the end of the month after 13 years of service to the district.

The Award with Distinction is presented to local governments and school districts upon the completion of a financial audit. Entities that receive the award must meet strict criteria for a "clean" report, including timely financial reports with the state auditor's office in the form of a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report; no findings for recovery, material citations, material weaknesses, significant deficiencies, single audit findings or questioned costs; and no comments related to ethics referrals, questioned costs less than $10,000, a lack of timely report submission, reconciliation, failure to obtain a timely single audit or findings for recovery less than $100.

Fewer than 5 percent of all of the state's government agencies receive the award each year. This is the 13th year the Whitehall school district has received the award.

The district traditionally has been recognized for its financial responsibility. The treasurer's office also has been awarded the Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association for the past 15 years. The Certificate of Excellence is one of the highest forms of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting and is given to government agencies that publish a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report according to a strict set of standards. The report is not required but is an option for local governments and school districts.

Whitehall City Schools Superintendent Judyth Dobbert-Meloy, who also is retiring at the end of the month, applauded Spears and her office for receiving the award and for its continued financial distinction.

"Diane, great job," she said.

Board president Walter Armes also offered praise.

"You are going out on a very positive note," he told Spears.

Spears said she has enjoyed her tenure with the district.

"It's been a pleasure to work for the Whitehall City Schools," she told board members earlier this month.

Spears attended kindergarten, first and second grade in Whitehall.