Auditor to Nampa School Board: 'No indication of fraud'

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by KTVB.COM

NWCN.com

Posted on February 13, 2013 at 6:10 AM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 12 at 2:57 AM

NAMPA -- An independent auditor has released his findings as to why the Nampa School District is nearly $4.5 million in the hole. Jae Hallet with Eide Bailly, LLP examined Nampa School District's budget over several years. He says he found no wrongdoing, but says there needs to be more accountability.

The Nampa School District had said last fall that an accounting error caused the district to have a $4.3 million budget deficit. Hallet, who has 29 years of public accounting experience, agreed with that reasoning. He says the district double counted one-time funds, but that was only part of the problem. Hallet says he found examples where expenditures exceeded the amended budget. He recommends the district monitor its spending more closely and establish policies for its fund balance.

"You spent money you didn't have in the fund balance," said Hallet. "You had it in the bank in terms of cash, and it wasn't what I call wasted.  It wasn't negligent on your part. But it was not as well thought out by some of the people as it could have been or as understood as it could have been."

Hallet presented his findings to the Nampa School Board Tuesday night. One board member asked Hallet who is to blame for the error.

"To say 'blame' I think is a tough word," said Hallet. "I think it's more of a culpability and most of the people who were involved in that process are no longer here, said Hallet."

Hallet also says the Nampa School District didn't have enough equity, or a safety net, to protect themselves. However, Hallet found no wrongdoing.

"There's no indication from what we've looked at that there's any district monies that have been misused or not used for district purposes," said Hallet.  "So there's no indication there's any fraud or defalcation or anything like that."

The independent auditor told the board he believes the Nampa School District is about $6 million short of where it needs to be to have a healthy fund balance.

The Nampa School District has been doing a number of things to shore up its budget, including mandating furlough days and transportation and activity fees. It's also looked at selling property and getting a loan. Also next month voters will decide on a $4.3 million supplmental levy.

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