Friday, November 20, 2015

Hey, it's only money

"It seems an auditing firm used by more than 100 Oklahoma school districts typically records irregularities not in the audit, but in separate letters," The Oklahoman notes today in an editorial. "The districts then report a 'clean' audit to state officials, effectively reducing financial scrutiny."
In McAlester, Superintendent Marsha Gore and her husband (the district's plant operations director) are accused of making tens of thousands of dollars in improper purchases with school funds over a 12-month period. The pair reportedly used school money for everything from Hillary Clinton campaign materials to a $129 hourglass to a $2,048 treadmill. ... 
Some are angry at the firm, but school district officials are also to blame. It's hard to believe this lack of transparency isn't driven by impure motives in at least some instances, especially given the findings of those school audits that are reported. 
At Tannehill, the school paid over $1,000 for Internet service at the superintendent's home. 
At Whitefield, the school paid travel reimbursement to the superintendent for driving from his home to school. 
In Timberlake, the superintendent's salary was increased without any amendment to his contract or board approval. 
In Alex, an employee was reimbursed for personal expenses and district equipment was used by school employees for personal use. 
At Whitesboro, the superintendent was reimbursed for travel-related meals and lodging without adequate invoice/receipt documentation. 
At Canadian, travel reimbursements were provided even when employees did not provide a school-related reason for the travel, a destination, or description of the trip. 
In Paoli, the school was carrying outstanding checks from as far back as 2002. 
In Crooked Oak, the district was still paying an absent, sick employee who had exhausted all medical leave. The superintendent tried to explain that one away by saying the employee's life insurance had lapsed due to the school district's negligence and officials were trying to make it up to him. 
The list goes on. If the aforementioned items are examples of what has occurred at districts that report their audits, there's reason to wonder what's going on at districts with 'clean' audits that fail to report 'supplemental' documents.

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