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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Highland financial audit reveals questionable expenses

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Highland School District's 2011 financial audit, which was recently completed, revealed several questionable charges on a school credit card for trips for school functions, seminars and training. All of the questionable expenditures were made by Superintendent James Floyd.

The report, issued by the Legislative Joint Audit Committee on March 6, 2012 covered the 2010-2011 fiscal year which ended June 30, 2011. The findings were forwarded to school board members and will be addressed at an upcoming meeting.

During the audit, it was discovered that the District failed to establish internal controls related to the superintendent's use of a credit card, resulting in the questionable charges.

Included was an expense of $2,078 for meals and travel-related expenses that had not been properly documented as a business expense. The purpose of the business trip was also not determined. The auditors issued an addendum to the report stating that Floyd later provided auditors with written explanations about each meal and trip.

An $809 expense for a conference while in Las Vegas in November 2010 was flagged and deemed to not be properly documented. The purpose for the expense could not be determined. Floyd provided auditors with a statement that he had attended the conference. Officials with the Las Vegas conference gave a conflicting statement, stating that their records indicated Floyd did not register for the event and there was no proof of his attendance.

Floyd's office was contacted on March 29 by the Villager Journal and asked for comments on the audit findings.

Floyd said, "A purchase order was approved for the conference registration for myself and two other school employees. Their two registrations were paid out of the appropriate restricted fund. My registration was to be paid out of another fund. Mine did not get paid. As a result of not having evidence of a paid registration, the auditor disallowed my expense to the conference which included room, airfare and the rental car used by all of us. I reimbursed the district $809 (my personal check #622) for these charges made to the school credit card."

Floyd went on to explain that the district manages over $1 million in revenues and expenses monthly. He said it is done with a limited staff and further stated, "The budgeting and accountability process underwent major changes during the 2010-2011 budget year, requiring staff to change practice, which I think contributed to this oversight."

Floyd's executive secretary, Connie Beard, said in a phone interview that she normally makes reservations for the superintendent but said, "That one was handled by someone else." Beard was not certain who handled the reservations.

Roger A. Norman, legislative auditor, stated in the report regarding Highland's other financial records, "We issued an adverse opinion because the District prepared the financial statements using accounting practices prescribed or permitted by the Arkansas Code, which differ from accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America." Norman went on to explain the school district's financial statements fairly presented all required material information, the financial position of each governmental fund and remaining fund information of the district.

The auditor did not identify any deficiencies in internal control over financial reporting that would be considered a "material weakness."

The full audit can be accessed at www.arkegaudit.gov. The summary on page 25 shows the Highland school to be in compliance with no significant deficiencies.

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