State finds financial problems in Touchet School District

The state Auditor's Office says the district is at risk of failing to meet its financial obligations.

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TOUCHET -- Financial conditions at the Touchet School District puts the district at risk of not meeting financial obligations, according to a finding by the state.

A second finding addressed inadequate controls over Associated Student Body activities resulting in lack of accountability over ASB money.

District officials chose not to respond to either report.

The findings were released in late June by the Washington state Auditor's Office.

Auditors expressed concerns about the district's financial condition in a previous audit, and noted this time the district had improved its ending general fund balance in 2009, with $156,053 to carry over into the 2009-2010 school year.

However, the picture is not improving, according to the report. The ending fund balance as of May 31 was $155,702. For both 2009 and 2010 the district budgeted expenditures in excess of revenues. The district incurred significant legal fees for personnel-related lawsuits, and saw a drop of enrollment by as many as 14 students over the year.

"The district cannot ensure it can meet its financial obligations including salaries and benefits, building maintenance, utility bills and inter-fund loan payments," if current conditions continue, according to the report.

Auditors recommended district officials develop a strategy for achieving and maintaining a positive fund balance that meets the needs of district operations.

Lack of documentation, written policies and general oversight for Associated Student Body activities have contributed to a number of questionable transactions in the ASB account, according to the audit.

In previous audits, auditors recommended the district improve controls over ticket sales and timeliness of deposits, develop written policies and procedures for ASB activities, improve monitoring and maintain sufficient documentation of ASB fundraisers, and ensure activities are pre-approved.

The current audit revealed the district is now using ticket sale forms and making timely deposits, but other issues have not been resolved.

Those issues include:

Lack of accurate information on the balances for each ASB club by the end of June 2010. The district only tracked fiscal year 2010 activity, with no regard to what was in the accounts at the end of 2009.

The ASB account and petty cash fund were closed at the end of fiscal year 2009. No explanation or documentation of when or how that money was used was available. The accounts had a board-approved amount totaling $3,050, and a zero bank balance when closed.

Minutes of ASB meetings prior to 2010 could not be provided.

A review of 20 transactions, totaling $12,163, revealed no evidence of student approval, no supporting documentation for six transactions, including class supplies and travel, totaling $2,341. Two transactions totaling $1,980 were for a scholarship and class supplies, which are not allowable uses of ASB money.

The audit also found fault with the district's oversight of ASB fundraisers. According to auditors, the district does not maintain an event calendar and does not centrally track fundraisers.

Auditors reviewed nine events/fundraisers for the audit period and three in fiscal year 2010. They found no documentation of revenue, expenditures and student council approval for six of the 2009 fundraisers and one of the 2010 events/fundraisers.

Documentation for the remaining five events/fundraisers did not show how much money was collected and how much was spent.

Also, the district does not have written policies and procedures regarding ASB fundraisers.

Auditors recommend the district maintain supporting documentation for all ASB activities and meetings, obtain student approval prior to making payments for or holding ASB fundraisers, and determine the balance for each club account. They also recommended all ticket sales forms are properly completed and reconciled to district records.

Carrie Chicken can be reached at cec@innw.net or 522-5289.

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