Audit finds Seattle school employees were overpaid

Audit finds Seattle school employees were overpaid

Credit: AP

Audit finds Seattle school employees were overpaid

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by Associated Press

NWCN.com

Posted on May 27, 2010 at 10:51 AM

Updated Thursday, May 27 at 11:13 AM

SEATTLE -  An audit of Seattle public schools found it overpaid employees by at least $335,000 in the 2008-2009 school year and made other financial mistakes.

District officials said the errors are unacceptable and pledged to fix them.

The district has already recovered $71,281 of the overpayments and has plans to recover $145,609. The investigation continues for the remaining $76,498, the district said in a statement.

"Inaccuracies in our financial systems are not acceptable. The public deserves to expect that we have efficient systems and accurate reports," said Seattle Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson in a written statement.

The audit says the problems in Seattle are common among school districts.

The overpayment of salaries represents a small fraction of 1 percent of the district's $558 million budget, Duggan Harmon, the district's executive director of finance, told The Seattle Times.

Harmon also said none of the problems will add to the $27 million the district already has to cut from its budget for the next school year.

But the Washington State Auditor's Office says it's not convinced that all overpayments have been identified, and it plans to release another report later this year.

The audit found the district received $233,792 from the federal government to meet the academic needs of Native American students for 1,123 students. But the district could provide documentation only for 377 eligible students. The district also failed to apply on time for the grant for the upcoming school year, and so did not get it. But the district has pledged to make up for that loss out of its general fund.

The audit also found the district made several mistakes in its financial statements for 2008-09, by misclassifying expenses or recording them in the wrong place.

The audit reported that district staff members "did not have adequate knowledge of and experience with prescribed financial reporting requirements," and that its controls over its payroll information "are insufficient to detect and correct errors in a timely manner."
 

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