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Springfield School District Receives "Fair" Rating from State Auditor

After reviewing the books and management practices of the Springfield School District, the state auditor presented his findings and recommendations to the public. While the auditor says he has faith that Springfield’s growth and civic participation will result in a prosperous community, the audit contains 51 recommendations, the most he says, since he became state auditor. KSMU’s Matthew Barnes reports.

 State Auditor Tom Schweich presented his findings regarding the Springfield School District Friday evening. While he says there are few signs that serious problems exist now, some money management systems are weak and could allow serious problems to arise.

“First of all the segregation of duties is important. Duties of receiving, recording and depositing moneys are not adequately segregated and a document supervisory review of accounting records is not performed. So obviously when someone is taking in money they shouldn’t be the one depositing money or that gives the opportunity for someone to steal,” says Schweich.

Schweich also says focusing on finding competitive prices for contracted work would contribute greatly to lowering expenses in general for the district.

“We found the district frequently obtained professional service without competitive selection processes and bidding decisions were not well documented. Professional services, the district has used the same attorney for 25 years without periodically conducting a selection process and does not have a written agreement,” says Schweich.

The Springfield School District is the largest accredited district in the state of Missouri. So Schweich says the district’s financial record keeping should be more detailed.

“When a city is growing and thriving, the policies and procedures of the schools need to grow and thrive with the city. There’s a lot of money being spent in this school district and we just think that the accounting controls and procedures need to be tightened up a little bit,” says Schwiech.

Although there are several areas for concern highlighted in the audit, Schweich says he feels the problems will be addressed. He and his audit team will return in 90 days for a follow up to ensure that the recommendations get implemented. His biggest recommendation is, given the district's size, that it hire its own internal auditor.

For KSMU, News I’m Matthew Barnes.