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State report threatens school district recovery

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  • | 5:00 a.m. December 4, 2013
The state audit began in March and concluded with the release of the report November 25.
The state audit began in March and concluded with the release of the report November 25.
  • East County
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The Manatee County School District could see as much as a $7.2 million reduction in its general fund balance as a consequence of a state auditor report the district released Tuesday night. 

A preliminary report from the state’s Auditor General’s Office found misuse of funds and lack of controls during the 2012-13 school year, some of which will threaten the district’s financial stability in the future. 

The report says the misuse of funds and other blunders could cost the district $7.2 million, biting into the $10 million the administration is trying to save to meet state-mandated reserves.  

The state report, which comes every three years, represents another roadblock in Superintendent Rick Mill’s recovery plan — meant to move the district past mistakes that occurred before he began work here. 

In September 2012, former Superintendent Tim McGonegal resigned from the school district after announcing a multimillion-dollar deficit. 

External audits, including one by Navigant in January, found a “lack of proper management support, oversight and leadership in the budget process” from McGonegal’s administration.

The state audit began in March and concluded with the release of the report Nov. 25. 

It finds mistakes as far back as 2005. 

The $7.2 million penalty includes $5.48 million that may not have been spent in accordance with funding guidelines, the report says.

In addition, a workers-compensation fund deficit of $1.71 million will require repayment from the general fund over the next two years. 

The above items, plus approximately $65,255 in purchasing card rebates owed to other funds, amount to the $7,259,707 in possible repayment to the state. 

Steve Valley, school district spokesperson, says the district has 30 days to respond to the findings. 

The district emphasized some of the costs can be reduced.

“We welcome the opportunity to work with the Auditor General to remediate many of the report’s findings,” Mills said in a press release. “I cannot emphasize enough that the school district is dedicated to fiscal responsibility and avoiding costly decisions and oversights that continue to plague the district from past years. We are committed to overcoming this challenge and keeping the school district on the path of fiscal discipline as we move forward together to the greatness our students and community deserve.”

Contact Josh Siegel at [email protected].



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