Port Townsend School District correcting state audit deficiencies

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — Two findings by the state auditor against the Port Townsend School District can be easily corrected, though one will take a little longer to fix than the other, according to the district superintendent.

In separate findings, the district was cited for failing to log time and effort data with regard to special-education employees and for not maintaining proper controls over Associated Student Body fundraising activities.

“This is serious because from my perspective, I don’t want any findings,” Superintendent David Engle said Wednesday.

“But there is nothing in these findings that we can’t comply with successfully.

“If there was something there that was preposterous or shocking, I’d be more worried, but this is stuff we can address.”

The state auditor reported May 22 that the district did not provide proper time and effort documentation for six employees whose salaries totaled $311,204.

The salaries were funded by a U.S. Department of Education grant.

Engle said business manager Sara Bonneville and Special Education Director Lisa Deen each thought the other was making the reports, Engle said.

Both Bonneville and Engle were serving their first year in their positions during the audit period from Sept. 1, 2012, to Aug. 31, 2013, and their unfamiliarity with the district “caused a few things to fall through the cracks,” Engle said.

Now, department heads schedule regular meetings with Bonneville for the purpose of generating reports, Engle said.

The audit on the Associated Student Body, or ASB, which was released May 27, will take a little more effort to correct, Engle said.

That audit stated that the district’s internal controls over ASB activities was insufficient to safeguard against potential noncompliance with laws and regulations.

The ASB is a student-run organization that puts on special events, conducts fundraising projects and publishes the annual yearbook.

Engle said that since ASB officers change each year, the officers often haven’t been properly trained in money management skills.

A state revenue reconciliation investigation found that $33,011 in cash was collected by the ASB between Aug. 21-29 last year, but the money was not transferred to the district office for deposit until Sept. 10.

In an audit of yearbook distribution, the report found that several yearbooks were given away, but no accounting was provided as to who received them.

Engle said all the money was accounted for and none was stolen.

He said the district needs to “hunker down” and provide more active supervision over ASB funds beginning in the next school year.

Bonneville expects to present a report to the Port Townsend School Board about the initial steps toward this goal at a meeting beginning at 6 p.m. Monday in the Gael Stuart Building, 1610 Blaine St.


Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or cbermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: June 04. 2014 7:32PM
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