Audit of Hanover schools’ bookkeeping finds irregularities
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent March 22, 2013 4:30PM
Updated: April 25, 2013 7:09AM
CEDAR LAKE — A routine audit of Hanover Community School Corp. by the State Board of Accounts has uncovered irregularities in accounting practices in certain cash accounts and federal grant programs.
Results of the audit for years July 2, 2010, to June 30, 2012, released March 15 showed lax accounting practices without a method to double check or verification of receipt of funds or records in numerous areas throughout the school system.
Problems documenting financial transactions were found district-wide in text book rental funds, in extracurricular funds at Jane Ball Elementary, and in fundraising and ticket sales at Hanover Central High School.
“The school corporation did not establish a reconciliation process to determine if all TBR (text book rental) receipts had been received,” the audit reports. In some cases receipts were back-dated to correspond with deposits.
Problems were also found with the way a T-shirt fundraising sale commemorating the 2011 high school boys’ state baseball championship season was conducted. Receipts were not taken for T-shirts sold. The T-shirt sale was supposed to generate $1,200.
“Based on our examination of the ECA (Extra-curricular activity) records of receipts and deposits, we did not find any evidence that this revenue was deposited in the bank account of the high school,” the audit reports.
The audit also states the school corporation did not report proper enrollment numbers for its free and reduced lunch program which are used to determine how much money each school receives in Title 1 dollars.
Jim Thorne, interim superintendent at Hanover Schools, said via email Friday the deficiencies uncovered in the audit were made known to the school corporation in January and have since been rectified or are in the process of being rectified.
“The noted audit results and comments … were from various sources ranging from error of previous staff members to lack of internal controls to verify information that was pre-populated from the DOE (Department of Education),” Thorne wrote.
“Corrective action plans have been implemented to correct all noted results and comments.”
Among those corrections procedures for monthly reconcilement of the student fees system and the student meal system have been implemented.
The results of the audit have been forward to the Lake County Sheriff’s Department, which began an investigation at the request of the school corporation when the State Board of Accounts began discovering irregularities during the audit process.
At the time, bookkeeper Jennifer Gricich was terminated. Superintendent Carol Kaiser then resigned Dec. 28.
This week Patti Van Til, spokeswoman for the Lake County Sheriff’s Department, confirmed the department had received the audit report.
“We have received a copy of the report and will not move on with our investigation,” Van Til said.