The Iowa State Auditor’s office on Tuesday released a reaudit of the Sioux City Community School District that did not show any major wrongdoing.
The report covers a period from June 30, 2017, to June 30, 2019, and recommends the school board approve and document pay raises.
Dan Greenwell requested the reaudit through a petition drive before he joined the school board. He felt the district operated with weak financial controls and expressed concern Superintendent Paul Gausman handed out bonuses and raises without oversight.
Auditor Rob Sand talked to Siouxland Public Media about the findings and says a lot of information in the report comes down to proper bookkeeping.
“It’s issues like getting contracts signed, making sure that spending of public money on public employees is small enough that no one is going to look at say that is too expensive of a party and those kinds of things.”
The report did mention payment to school administrators totaling almost $1,000 for staff gatherings and found the expenditures did not meet the "test of public purpose."
However, Sand says this is nothing in the report that would be considered criminal behavior or conduct.
“We didn’t see examples of embezzlement, for example. So, at the end of the day, it’s stuff you want to be mindful of. You should except the taxpayer watchdog in the auditor’s office is going to write it up in a report and make sure we talk about it publically.”
The Sioux City Community School District issued a statement surrounding the reaudit; it says in part, “the district is committed to the appropriate use of taxpayer dollars on behalf of students.”
“They appreciated the work we did and will be more mindful going forward,” said Sand.
Meanwhile, Board Member Dan Greenwell says the reaudit validated his concerns with the only exception, the independence of the external auditor. There was concern raised the district’s chief financial officer had previously worked for a firm that conducts the district’s audits.
Sand says the cost for conducing the reaudit was not available at this time.
Full Statement from the Sioux City Community School District:
The Sioux City Community School District is committed to the appropriate use of taxpayer dollars on behalf of students in our District. We take our annual audits very seriously and welcome the opportunity for state experts to take a closer look at our processes to ensure our board-directed practices and policies are most thorough. We are grateful that the state auditor’s reaudit confirmed the findings of the accounting firm that conducts the District’s annual financial audit while also providing us with an opportunity to learn new ways that we can improve our accounting practices. We look forward to working alongside the District’s Board of Directors to implement recommendations by the state auditor to strengthen our board policies.