Policy Not Practice – Of School Superintendents and Outside Auditors – Part 1

Compliance with Huntley School Board policies is apparently for students, not Huntley’s fiscal administrators.

School Board member Larry Snow along with board member Aileen Seedorf got a board policy (4:15) put on the books that says financial irregularities have to be reported to the board of education and to the superintendent.

It was obvious at last Thursday’s Board meeting that compliance with that mandate remains but a theoretical concept.

Not something actually practiced.

Mandatory disclosure missing even when written into board policy is obviously not being practiced four years after the scandalously referendum tax increase that the media labeled a deception.

Hardly progress if you ask me.

Superintendent John Burkey has been on the job three years. Obviously, the fiscal aspect of his supervision needs improvement.

And, not telling the board of a serious lapse in internal controls…how does one explain that.

Did the district’s outside auditor voluntarily disclose how he found a lapse in internal controls at the beginning of his presentation?

No.

In fact he made no presentation. Outside auditor Paul Thurman of the firm Evans, Marshall & Pease, P.C., simply said he didn’t have anything to say and immediately opened it up to questions.

The lapse in internal controls that had about $150,000 extra erroneously sent to the State (in July alone) wasn’t mentioned until Larry Snow started asking questions about internal controls in the fiscal office.

The written report the auditor gave the board made had no mention whatsoever about internal controls.

It was only after Snow had asked very precisely worded questions exposing errors in the audit report that Snow asked about what he found about “internal controls.”
At this point, the auditor said a future letter, as yet unwritten, would show a lapse in internal controls resulting in about a couple hundred thousand dollars being sent to the State as an overpayment error.

Whether the auditor would have routinely disclosed this to the board, as he said he was going to, is anyone’s guess.

It was apparent he didn’t disclose it before being questioned by the board Thursday night. It is certainly less likely that someone would ask a question, if nothing was volunteered about internal controls.

Four years after a deceptive referendum, you might think the board majority was actually going to start the practice of having the fiscal office and superintendent actually start telling the entire board of education about specific lapses in internal controls.

Guess not.

About $110,000 was spent under a guise of a forensic audit that was selectively unforensic.

Part 2 tomorrow.


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