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School Officials to Explain Bookkeeping Discrepancies

The Board of Education's budget committee meets at 4 p.m. today to hear about issues with what some are calling an apparent $1 million budget shortfall.

 

The school superintendent and business manager today will explain a nearly $1 million discrepancy in the 2010-11 budget, discovered in a recent audit, according to the Hartford Courant.

In a presentation to the Common Council’s Finance and Government Operations Committee last week, the city’s auditor revealed that both the school district and city budgeted for $857,000 in special education grants. In addition, school officials said there appears to be a $131,000 deficit in the cafeteria account, which they are still looking into but intend to correct.

Mayor Dan Drew called said in the Courant article that the budget discrepancies appear to be differences in accounting procedures between the city and school finance departments.

Nancy P. Haynes, the school board's business manager, compiled a chronology of the two line items at issue in the larger of the shortfalls — a Special Education Cost Grant not fully posted to the school board's grant account and the city charging the school board two years in a row for appropriations not approved by the board.

Haynes and School Superintendent Michael J. Frechette spoke with Drew on Thursday and explained that the budget shortfall is largely the result of accounting discrepancies between the school board and the city.

In a memo to the city, Haynes stated that the audit “recommended reconciliation between the city and BOE (accounts); it did not report overspending by the BOE.”

Last April, then-Mayor Sebastian Giuliano said an independent audit of school board finances revealed a series of accounting irregularities — including problems with mileage reimbursements among board officials. Giuliano accused the school board of fiscal irregularities and his accusation was part of a broader conflict between the city and school board regarding accounting practices between the two.

Prior to the election last year of Drew, a Democrat, as mayor, the city and schools were embroiled in a highly antagonistic dispute that included a lawsuit filed by the school board against the city in 2010. Drew has sought to ease tensions between the two sides and settle some of the outstanding legal issues.

The budget committee meets today at 4 p.m. in the school board's central office, conference room 9.

Darrell Lucas February 13, 2012 at 11:01 PM
Why is this a problem this year? Was it the city or the boe that didn't consider the grant money in its budget? This is exactly why there have been issues with the boe budget and finance department... This is also a perfect example of why the city and boe finance departments should be consolidated.

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