The Ottumwa Courier

October 17, 2012

State releases Centerville schools audit

MATT MILNER
CNHI

CENTERVILLE — An audit report from the state praises Centerville's school district for improvements in how it handles money, but cautioned more work is needed.

The report, officially a "reaudit report" on the Centerville Community School District, was released Tuesday by the state auditor's office. It covers the 2010, 2011 and 2012 fiscal years. The report is limited and, "substantially less in scope than an audit of financial statements."

The first finding from auditors is that the district's unspent balance has not yet been able to end negative year-end fund balances. Auditors expressed that as a Financial Solvency Ratio (FSR). The FSR is improving, though, going from 5.71 percent at the end of the 2010 fiscal year to 2.46 percent at the end of the next year.

Auditors praised the improvement and said the 2013 budget includes cost-saving measures. But they urged the district not to let up on that focus, a recommendation the district accepted.

There were more questions about the district's relationship to Appanoose All-Play, Inc., and the development of a sports complex. Auditors identified a $50,000 contribution for a "competitive soccer complex" in December 2007 and a $25,00 contribution in September 2009 for "materials for construction of Lake View access road."

Auditors warned that the board president signed an amendment to the 28E agreement prior to the board's formal approval. That is contrary to state law.

Auditors also raised questions about the project and whether the district's contributions went to the correct recipients:

"Although a portion of the Morgan E. Cline Family Sports Complex and access road were completed, the soccer field was not completed and remains unfinished. It is unclear whether the District had statutory authority to contribute public funds to the nonprofit corporation. According to the September 8, 2009 Board minutes, the Board agreed “to provide $25,000 to Appanoose All-Play, Inc. for construction of the access road to the sports complex.” However, it is unclear why the District paid $25,000 to Appanoose All-Play, Inc. rather than the City of Centerville since the City constructed the road as part of the settlement agreement with the District."

While the audit criticized some approaches by the district, it says the district cooperated with auditors.