The Oakland school district could eventually have to repay up to $24.7 million to the state because of expenditures made more than two years ago.
Auditors from the state controller’s office, in typically untimely fashion, just finished scrutinizing the books from the 2005-06 school year. But the auditors found the district’s financial records to be so spotty from that time period that they couldn’t render an opinion – good, bad, or in between – on the overall fiscal picture.
I’m at the board meeting right now, and the auditors just finished presenting their findings. Definitely a downer.
“It would seem to me that we need a state takeover of the state takeover,” board member Greg Hodge said. “We’re essentially saying that the state didn’t do better record-keeping than we did on our own.”
In May, the district hired a private accounting firm to “disentangle” the payroll and cash account records, all the way back to the 2003-04 year, said Interim Superintendent Roberta Mayor. The district has also recently hired an internal auditor. Then there is the Fiscal Crisis & Management Assistance Team (FCMAT). Oh, and the state controller’s office.
“If I had that kind of oversight on my personal finances, I think they’d be pretty pristine,” Hodge said. “Why is it that we can’t seem to get accurate information from the multiplicity of financial experts?”
You can find the whole 210-page report here. You can find the summary of findings at the back, starting on page 206.