Tuesday, May 09, 2006

D-158 wants audit answers

Hmm. I am sure many voters have similar questions in regard to the cost of educating our students. The following story appeared in the Northwest Herald.

D-158 wants audit answers

[published on Mon, May 8, 2006]
HUNTLEY – District 158 school board members want to know why fees for the district's audit have ballooned to more than three times the initial forecasts.

Stanley Hall, the district's chief financial officer, said Friday that he would meet with representatives from the accounting firm William F. Gurrie to determine whether costs could be cut.
"Everything's negotiable," said Hall, who projected the audit's final cost to approach $90,000. That is about triple the amount called for in the district's contract with Gurrie.
Meanwhile, a bill from Gurrie for about $13,000 and expected additional fees remain unpaid while the district seeks answers.
Gurrie's representatives could not be reached for comment Friday.
Board member Larry Snow, who first called attention to the issue, said the firm charged the district $275 an hour and sometimes more for an audit beset by delays and discrepancies.
The district's audit was finalized in April, almost nine months after the end of the fiscal year. The audit contained a gap of about $60,000 between the district's books and bank balances, officials have said.
"A lot of the auditing work was needless because the monthly bank statements weren't balanced," Snow said.
Hall said he was not sure how the firm's hourly rate of $275 compared with previous years.
"It sounds high," he said, "but I'm from downstate and everything up here sounds high."
The district already has paid most of Gurrie's fees, Hall said, despite totals higher than expected.
That raised questions with Snow, who said he and other board members assumed that the bill would be closer to $30,000 than $90,000.
"[Administrators] didn't tell us that they had authorized the spending," Snow said. "Sixty-thousand dollars is at least one highly qualified teacher. It's not a small amount of money."
Hall said he hoped to have an update for the board in time for its monthly meeting May 18.

To view the rest of the story visit the Northwest Herald.

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