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St. Landry audit shows theft at OJHS and record-keeping issues

St. Landry Parish School Board
Posted at 12:52 PM, Jan 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-25 13:52:25-05

The St. Landry Parish School Board's most recent annual audit shows several issues with record-keeping, both financial and administrative.

The audit, which you can see for yourself by clicking here, also says that a former employee is accused of stealing more than $9,000 from Opelousas Junior High School.

"While reviewing monthly reports submitted by the schools, irregularities were identified in amounts deposited at Opelousas Junior High School. Upon further review and an internal audit, a shortage of $9,017 was identified," the audit states.

The auditors recommended that management "evaluate security controls to ensure they are adequate and functioning properly."

When the missing money was found, "the District Attorney and Louisiana Legislative Auditor were notified, and an internal audit was conducted. Restitution has not been made, and the individual believed to have misappropriate the funds is no longer employed by the School Board," the audit states.

The audit also found that the general fund and payroll accounts weren't balanced for months at a time, and that the school system had to pay interest and late fees after payroll tax reports weren't filed on time.

There also were problems with school activity accounts.

"The School Board is not providing proper oversight over the school activity accounts. The lack of adequate oversight provides for the opportunity of misappropriation of cash and the funds designated for a particular club to be expended by another group," the audit states. "The School Board should implement procedures to ensure that proper oversight is provided over all school activity flmds through regular review and monitoring of account activity."

In response, board officials say they perform routine audits of the school activity funds, but in the past, school administrators allowed certain groups to spend funds that were not available to their group, which has created negative cash balances for some groups.

"All school administrators and bookkeepers have been informed of the proper procedures for spending school activity funds. Duties have been modified at the district level to allow for an additional school auditor. This will allow for more school audits during the year and a greater presence at the schools," school officials say.

Finally, the auditors found that the system isn't publishing minutes of their meetings as required by state law.

"The School Board will implement policies to ensure that minutes of all open meetings will be made available as public record and published in the official journal and on the School Board's website timely," officials responded.