Audit shows local school district wasted millions may recover lost funds

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by KMOV.com Staff

KMOV.com

Posted on August 7, 2013 at 8:21 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 7 at 8:25 PM

 (KMOV) – A St. Louis school district that was hit with a major audit is promising to fix the issues that wasted millions of tax dollars.

The Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich released a follow-up audit in an attempt to see if the district had gotten into fiscal shape. No word yet if millions of overpaid tax dollars will make it back to the district.

“I’ve got good news today and I’m pleased as an auditor to say I’ve got good news,” Schweich said.

A few months ago, a district watchdog, Eileen Tyrell was not happy with how the district was handling tax dollars

“This makes me sick, not a joyous occasion. This makes me sick,” Tyrell said.

She started in 2011 to push for a state audit which was released in February 2013. The audit uncovered that the district overpaid a construction company more than $1 million.

It also shows board member Steve Smith approved contracts with the contraction company that employs him.

He has since resigned and a new board president has taken charge.

“You are putting me in a tough spot here. I’m just being honest, Steve Smith was a decent person, we are still going to find out if there was anything questionable done. President Brown said.

The district promised in February to update board policies to comply with the law, have more oversight on spending and try to collect the money it overpaid.

The Rockwood District hired a consultant to look into how much money they can get back.

“I can say with full confidence, if any and all of it is recoverable,” Brown said.

It is still not known how much the consultant will end up costing the district.

The auditor did state that the speed at which the district has put new policies in place is commendable and he recommended some of their new plans to other districts.

Tyrell said “moving forward now this is the hard part. They will have to restore the trust in the community.”

The district hopes to find out next week how much money they will be able to recover. 

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