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Audit: Finance Director Lisa Caldwell’s response

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Finance Director Lisa Caldwell’s response

Board Members and Superintendent:
I am actually surprised that the district Finance Officer position was mentioned for not reporting “misuse“ of school activity funds to the Board. The Redbook, in effect for the years covered by this special audit, outlines the authority and responsibilities of the local school board, superintendent, principal, SBDM, school treasurer and club/activities sponsor in relation to school funds. However, there are no responsibilities or authority granted to the Finance Officer.
In addition, the only reference in my job description as the Finance Officer regarding school funds states: “General Help to school bookkeepers regarding Redbook accounting procedures.“
No one has ever discussed these extra expectations with me. Any review I performed on the financial activities within the schools was above and beyond my known responsibilities. In fact, the new Redbook, which became effective July 1, 2013, now actually recommends the review procedures I have always performed, whereas previously, these recommendations did not exist.
In addition, the review of documentation prepared by the schools has never been communicated as a responsibility of the Finance Officer, until now. An annual audit is performed by outside auditors at each school, in which documentation is reviewed for compliance, and deficiencies. I was aware that our multiple receipt documentation for FY 2012 was not sufficient, since it was a finding in the annual audit report prepared by our auditors. We have since been working to improve that documentation, which was recognized and noted in the FY 2013 audit report. However, no other mention of deficient documentation was brought to my attention for correction.
During my review of the financial activities at the high school during 2012, I noticed the purchase of floor tiles for the boy‘s locker room and questioned the appropriateness of using the school activity funds. I was informed the Superintendent had approved this transaction. Since the Superintendent had been a former finance officer and also taught finance for school administrators, I knew he was aware of the regulations. I have since tried to replace the school activity funds with appropriate funds from the district-assigned funds to the school, but it has been held up in the approval process.
Every month, the board members receive an electronic version of each school‘s financial statements, which lists all “sub funds“ and balances. No one has ever asked questions or requested information regarding the “Coaches Fund,” which has been in existence prior to July 1, 2011.
I am in agreement with the recommendations, as most have already been implemented. I will continue to provide information to the board members/committee to ensure they are aware of the activities within the school funds.
I would also like to make everyone aware that even though I was part of the audit committee, I have been excluded from the last few meetings.

Lisa Caldwell
Finance Officer