2 former MPS employees owe system $14K after audit, state says

Published: Jan. 16, 2020 at 2:09 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The results of a year-long audit are in for a middle school in the Montgomery Public Schools system, and the State of Alabama found multiple issues.

The Alabama Department of Examiners of Public Accounts conducted the audit on Goodwyn Middle School between June 1, 2017, and May 31, 2018. In total, the examiners found nine issues and asked three former school employees to repay the system for its losses or provide evidence justifying why the amounts shouldn’t have to be repaid.

The audit found $17,340.01 in losses, but after the former principal presented evidence at a meeting with Chief Examiner Rachel Laurie Riddle’s office, charges against him totaling $3,068.20 were relieved.

The charges against two other former employees, bookkeeper Tiffany Franklin and Athletic Director Herman Dudley, are still owed, according to Riddle’s office. Franklin failed to appear for her just cause hearing, and while Dudley did appear, the examiner determined he “did not provide sufficient evidence that the amounts due should not be paid.”

Franklin is charged $11,871.81 and Dudley is charged $2,400, for a total of $14,271.81

The audit found school losses “resulted from a lack of internal controls over the receipting, custody and disbursement of school funds.”

MPS Superintendent Ann Roy Moore said the system “is being proactive in tracking down instances of financial impropriety in the district,” and that “we will not tolerate the misuse of public money, and there will be serious consequences for those involved.”

Moore confirmed those named in the report are no longer employed by MPS, and she pledged “we will continue to work closely with authorities as needed.”

Here’s what the audit found in each of the nine areas of concern:

The first issue involves the school’s bookkeeper, whom the audit found cashed personal checks from school funds. And the bookkeeper’s personal bank account did not have sufficient funds to cover the personal checks written to the school, the report found.

In this case, Franklin cashed personal checks totaling $6,995 using school funds, which is prohibited under the Alabama State Department of Education’s Financial Procedures for Local Schools.

When the bank returned the checks due to lack of funds, the school was charged $72 in fees, bringing the school’s monetary losses charged back to an individual to $7,067.

The second issue involves the school bookkeeper’s failure to submit required monthly financial information to the MPS Central Office.

In this case, it was found that Franklin did not provide a monthly statement for January 2018 and that statements covering March and April 2018 differed from the bank’s statements.

The third issue involves improper receipting procedures, and the failure to make deposits of teacher receipts timely and intact, the audit stated.

In this case, the audit found that “at least $3,074″ that was received from teachers and receipted by Franklin were never deposited into the school’s bank account.

That brings school losses now charged back to an individual up to $10,141.

The fourth issue involves failure to provide ticket sales reports, and the failure to receipt and deposit athletic events gate receipts, per the report.

In this case, the audit found ticket sales reports were not submitted "for one football game, one volleyball match, six basketball games and eight wrestling matches, and no money was deposited for tickets sales related to these events. Additionally, documented ticket sales of $675.00 from two other events were not deposited into the School’s bank account.”

That brings school losses now charged back to an individual up to $10,816.

The fifth issue involves failure to redeposit into the school bank account change cash from ticket sales for athletic events.

In this case, the audit found that Franklin issued a total of $4,500 in checks to Dudley and that she later redeposited $2,100 in cash from that amount into the school’s bank account. The rest of the money was never redeposited.

That brings school losses now charged to an individual up to $13,216.

The sixth issue involves failure to receipt all money received for student activity fees and the failure to accurately post the related transactions.

In this case, the audit stated that “testing during the examination revealed that $600.00 received for student activity fees was not receipted with a master receipt, but was posted to the accounting records by the Bookkeeper as change cash for athletic events.”

That created inaccuracies in the accounting records and activities were not properly credited with all available funds, the audit concluded.

The seventh issue involves failure to record and deposit money received from the sale of concession items.

In this case, the audit found that Franklin ran the school’s daily concession activities and that during the examination, she purchased $907.55 in snacks for the purpose of resale. Despite these purchases “accounting records do not reflect receipts for in-school concession sales, and no deposits into the School bank account were noted for these activities.”

The school lost at least $907.55 from the snack purchases “and an indeterminate amount of profit”.

That brings school losses now charged to an individual up to $14,123.55.

The eighth issue involves failure to account for gift cards purchased as a reward for student academic achievements.

In this case, the audit found that during the examination period, a total of $1,212.68 was spent to buy 24 gift cards that were to be distributed to students for their achievements. However, no documentation was provided on $700 worth of those cards.

That brings school losses now charged to an individual up to $14,823.55.

The ninth issue involves the use of school funds to purchase items of a personal nature.

In this case, the audit found that “at least $2,516.46” in school funds were spent on items including “groceries, diapers, clothing, household items, holiday decorations and other miscellaneous items,” without a purchase order being approved by the school’s principal.

“We were unable to determine the individual(s) responsible for $2,368.30 of these purchases,” the audit stated.

That brings school losses now charged to an individual up to $17,340.01.

Issues eight and nine were charged to the principal, stating he was ultimately responsible for how money was handled at the school. However, the report states the principal was able to provide evidence for why he shouldn’t have to repay the amounts in eight and nine.

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