$1.5 million that Wasn’t Real – Part 1


You won’t be surprised to find out this is about Huntley School District 158.

Those were the numbers that were talked about as errors as a result of the 2007 audit.

If you think an audit reassures residents that a school district financial numbers are officially correct, think again.

First, if you were a resident who actually went to the meeting, thinking you would get a copy of the auditor’s report so you could read along with the questions being asked by board members, largely by school board member Larry Snow, think again.

No copies of the report were available to the public.

Not online.

Not in person.

No where.

So much for transparency.

Expenses were incorrectly shown in the 2007 audit, admitted to as an error by Paul Thurman who represented the audit firm of Evans, Marshall & Pease, P.C. I assume he is a Certified Public Accountant.

Add to this property tax revenue of $600,246–inflated–and registration fees that didn’t belong in 2007, this added up to $1,531,406.

How much in registration fees didn’t belong in 2007?

Well, that would be $641,478.

That’s a lot of registration fees.

There were a couple of more “stunners,” starting with the first question asked by Snow.

It turns out the Auditor had over $10 million on the books as “Construction in Progress.”

Snow asked how this could be when the Marlowe school expansion has been done for well over a year?

This is the second school year the expansion is actually being used.

Huntley administrators said the school was done.

The auditor said he had documentation from someone saying it wasn’t, but didn’t have it with him.

Superintendent John Burkey looked rather perturbed.

Probably because no one on his staff reviewed the auditor’s report between Friday when they got it and the following Thursday, the night of the board meeting.

Snow asked the auditor about internal controls and what he found.

The auditor said he found the district overpaid the state more than $150,000 in July for the Teachers Retirement System.

This happened when the payroll supervisor miscalculated the amount to be paid, and apparently just sent it in. No one in the District knew there was an overpayment until the auditor caught it.

One person doing this with no approval process or anyone checking the work, I would say this qualifies as an internal controls’ violation.

Then the auditor said the same thing happened in June as well. That time it was apparently only $75,000 that was overpaid.

When Snow asked whether the auditor used the internal controls assessment done by former Comptroller Stacie Talbert, Thurman was very clear.

The outside auditor said he had never seen the report or been given a copy.

Talbert’s December 2007 report was a scathing evaluation. Obviously Huntley administrators didn’t want the audit firm to be looking too closely at what hadn’t been corrected.

Board member Aileen Seedorf asked if this is November and the overpayments were discovered in August, then why is this being brought to light only at a public meeting now?

Good question.

Is there a conspiracy of silence still going on in District 158?

You betcha and it was obvious how administrators were caught “knowing,” but not telling. Members of the board majority would not have deliberately withheld that information, would they?

Why would you inflate the financial results in a year you are negotiating a teachers’ contract?

I believe Snow expressed less than a thank you when he said the auditor made negotiating the contract more difficult not less difficult with fund balances inflated by $1.5 million

Part 2 tomorrow.

= = = = =
At the top you can see teachers, including one shy one, picketing in front of Marlowe Elementary School.


$1.5 million that Wasn’t Real – Part 1 — 3 Comments

  1. Is Snow at least paying you for beginning his campaign advertising early?

    Maybe if Snow and Seedorf hadn’t attacked so many school administrators, Stacie Talbert would still be around to implement the internal controls her report set forth. It was very clear in her letter of resignation that Snow and Seedorf were the reasons she left

  2. are you as dumb as your statement professes you to be? Get your facts before blaming the wrong people.

  3. Sorry, ataxpayertoo, but you are the individual who needs to get your facts straight.

    From the NW Herald Dec 12, 2007 article “Finance chief resigns”

    “It hurts me to participate in board meetings and see the way board members attack one another and the way they attack administrators,” Talbert said after Thursday’s board meeting. “I personally witnessed how they have attacked my colleagues, and I feel like a sitting duck wondering when it will be my turn.”

    If you were informed, you would know which board members she was talking about.

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