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To audit, or not to audit, that is the question

WARRENSBURG The Warrensburg School Board is looking for public input before it makes its final decision on whether or not to do a complete forensic audit.

The board wants to collect information from the public regarding a further detailed forensic analysis, said School Superintendent Tim Lawson.

The issue of whether or not to have a detailed forensic audit stems from an audit by the state Comptrollers Office, which is auditing every school district in the state every five years, after a scandal at a Long Island school where improper spending was discovered.

The school also conducts an external audit each year, where three auditors spend five days in the district and send a follow up report.

That audit costs the district $9,500, Lawson said. I dont know how much a forensic audit would cost, it depends on what the board decides.

The state Comptrollers Office conducted an audit of the Warrensburg School District between July 4, 2004 through Jan. 5, 2006 and did find some typical issues, according to Lawson.

The board just adopted a corrective action plan to prevent this from happening again, Lawson said.

The report, which is on the state Comptrollers web site, said that the objective of the audit was to determine if controls over cash receipts, disbursements, purchasing and payroll were appropriately designed and operating effectively.

The audit report found that the district didnt solicit properly for independent auditing services, and insurance, resulting in expenditures of over $77,000 and that the district could have saved $3,000 on fuel oil by using a state contract.

The report also found that controls were not in place to segregate duties over processing claims and cash disbursements, and that the business manager was also the purchasing agent without claims auditor.

The full board approves the list of what has been purchased at each meeting, said school board member Brian Lace. We make sure that every single claim is valid, but the state said we werent doing it right. Lace said that things like a missing purchasing order number or wrong account code can signal potential fraud.

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