Nova Scotia’s school boards are now required by law to establishaudit committees. The requirement was introduced in the 2002Financial Measures Act to strengthen accountability fortaxpayers’ money that is spent on student education. The changein regulation was passed today, Nov. 21, to make it law. The new regulation means that all boards will have a committee tofocus specifically on the board’s audit responsibilities. Thecommittee members will have full access to all school boardrecords including reports, documents, books and accounts. Theywill also have the opportunity to speak directly with third partyreviewers like the board’s auditors to ensure they are well-informed and can effectively monitor the board’s internalcontrols. The new regulation also recognizes that board members might notalways have expertise in financial management. It gives the boardthe option of including one member on the committee who is not aboard member to supplement that financial expertise. “These new audit committees will provide another check to ensurethat money that’s meant for the classroom is spent in theclassroom,” said Education Minister Jamie Muir. “School boardmembers will be in a better position to take immediate action atthe earliest sign of financial trouble.” Some school boards have already started to create auditcommittees in anticipation of the new regulation. They will nowhave the terms of reference needed to ensure consistencyprovincewide. “We have had a positive experience in the Strait with the newaudit committee,” said Ken Meech, CEO, Strait Regional SchoolBoard. “It’s a good and welcome addition to our school board.” Staff from the Department of Education consulted chief financialofficers from all the school boards on the new audit committeeregulation.