It seemed that everyone was astounded when the interim superintendent announced that he had found a large number of errors in reviewing the past year's accounting. The superintendent should have been the only one surprised, as the board and the past superintendent knew full well what was going on and had failed to correct the situation.
Linda Schaich had discovered what she referred to as the hidden audit and had referred to it in her school board campaign. She also had spoken to the board members in public comments, and had written a letter to the editor.
This audit is numbered 2011-119 and can be found on the web site for the State of Florida, Auditor General. This audit resulted in a fine to the school district in the amount of $5 million. The public was not informed of this penalty, and it would not be readily seen as it would be deducted from the funding received from the state, rather than be paid from the check register.
Following is a direct quote from the report:
“This was a material noncompliance indicative of significant deficiencies considered to be material weaknesses in the District’s internal controls related to reporting errors or records that were not properly or accurately prepared or were missing and could not be located.”
We have three internal auditors being paid generously to do just that: audit. Why is it that they did not find these problems? Just what is it that they do? Their duty is to report to the Board irregularities in the finances, and there is no record that they reported either this problem or the budget shortage that led to the superintendent running out the back door.
Were these errors due to incompetence or to a purposefully constructed plan to receive more monies from the state?