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MCSB responds to financial misappropriation at Shelling Elementary



MONROE, La. – The recent annual audit on the Monroe City School Board shows missing money from one of their elementary schools from the end of the 2019 fiscal year.

The findings from the audit reveal financial misappropriation at Roy Neal Shelling Elementary. according to our partners at the news star, this amount totaled to 30,000 missing dollars.

Superintendent Brent Vidrine released a statement about the findings, saying the issue came from misappropriations in the schools activity funds during the 2017-2018 school year. The findings also include the school boards general fund surplus of 688,000 dollars, lowering of property millage from 13.8 to 8 million, as well as lowering of district debt by 4.9 million dollars.

We reached out to the Monroe City School Board to see what their plan of action is. These are their responses:

From Superintendent Vidrine: “The audit was an unmodified opinion that was clean. We achieved a surplus in the general fund of approximately 688,000 dollars. We were able to lower the property millage from 13.8 mills to 8.0 mills lower the taxes paid by our citizens in Monroe. The outstanding debt owed by the district was lowered by 4.9 million dollars for the 19-20 school year.

We will continue to focus on our students to provide the best possible education for them. as a district will also to strive to be great stewards of our tax paying citizens in Monroe.

We did have minor findings that have all been corrected. The one that you have questioned was the misappropriation at one of our schools activity funds in 2017-18 school year. We have addressed that problem and believe that issue has been corrected. Yes, you are correct all information was turned over to the proper authorities” he says.

From Board President Betty Ward Cooper: “As reported, the Monroe City School Board received the School District’s annual audit report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019. In light of certain irregularities identified by the School District’s auditors regarding school funds involving one of our schools, we want the public to know that the findings were discovered internally through the diligence of our Business Department. Working as a team, the Board, the administration, our school administrators and our auditors will act aggressively to ensure that school and tax payer funds are protected and accounted for.

As Board President, I will enlist the help of our Board Policy and Finance Committees
to ensure that current policies and procedures are adequate and to further ensure that
sufficient resources are deployed to safe keep school funds and other tax payer assets. Working with limited personnel, our Business Department should be commended for
identifying the reported irregularities and taking proactive steps to recover any lost funds.

Going forward, we want to assure our students, parents and community stakeholders that we take the reported findings of our auditors seriously. We have learned much from this incident, and will use what we learned instructively to improve internal policies, procedures and actual practices, where needed.

We thank our students, their families and the citizens of our community for their continued support. Because of you, we have much to be proud of. We will work hard every day to earn and maintain your confidence” she says.