The Pickerington Local School District again has been recognized by the state for financial accounting excellence.

For the second time in the past three years, the district has picked up the Auditor of State's Award with Distinction.

The award was presented to the district Feb. 26. Pickerington also received the award in 2015.

To earn recognition, public entities such as school districts, cities, townships and villages must maintain financial records that are accurate and which exhibit a dedication to accountability.

The entity must file timely financial reports with the auditor's office in the form of a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the state auditor's website states.

The report must not contain any findings for recovery, material citations, material weaknesses, significant deficiencies, single audit findings or questioned costs, according to the website.

Additionally, the district's management letter, a document signed by district officials that attests to the accuracy of the financial statements submitted to auditors for analysis, was deemed to be filed timely, have no ethics referrals or negative comments related to maintaining public meetings and public records.

"I am pleased to carry on a tradition of excellence in financial management and reporting in service of the residents and businesses of the Pickerington Local School District," said Ryan Jenkins, Pickerington schools treasurer.

The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada has given the district Treasurer's Office the Award of Financial Reporting Achievement in June 2016.

That award was established in 1945, and seeks to encourage state and local governments to go beyond minimum requirements of accepted accounting principles to prepare comprehensive annual financial reports to provide "transparency and full disclosure" of revenues and expenditures.

"I attribute all of the awards to an incredibly hard-working treasurer's office team and administrative staff, who strive to maintain the highest levels of accuracy and accountability in financial management and reporting," Jenkins said. "They are, and always have been, the reasons for our successes."

Jenkins said in order to stay in line with recordkeeping and financial management requirements for public entities, the district "constantly" reviews and refines internal controls and safeguards to ensure accuracy and accountability.

He said those efforts include working to enhance the district's ability to meet accounting and money management goals.

"One such example is a system we use called SCView," Jenkins said.

"This is a document work-flow program that has greatly enhanced our system of checks and balances for our requisition-purchase order process, and it will allow us to better align our expenditures with strategic goals moving forward.

"We are also seeking this year to improve our budgeting process by tying planned budgets directly to strategic goals and initiatives, and better communicating that budgeting process and sharing the final budget document with district constituents."

Jenkins said his office is working to enhance the budgeting process so it will continue to be recognized by financial governing bodies like the GFOA, the Association of School Business Offices and the Ohio Auditor's Office.

Doing that, he said, would keep the district in good standing with oversight agencies, but should also show constituents like parents and other taxpayers that the district is using sound spending and investment principles, while being transparent about how it manages funds.

"These awards are for the retrospective reporting of financial information performance -- that is, for reporting the financial information and trends from a previously completed fiscal year," he said.

"We are also interested in garnering that same level of excellence during the budgeting (and) planning process that takes place before a particular fiscal year.

"I think this says that we strive to maintain the highest standards of financial accountability for our residents and businesses so that we are sure that our resources are appropriately spent on our children."