Audit found problems with how Polk County Schools handle cash flow

Report reveals numerous bookkeeping errors

LAKELAND, Fla. - An audit released this week on Polk County Schools found issues with how principals and their staff are handling money.

Roughly 98 percent of the schools audited were found to be breaking district policy.

The study focuses on how schools handles money for field trips, fundraisers, and other odds and ends.

Fifty of the 58 schools reviewed were flagged for not following procedures like depositing money late, losing receipts, or not documenting expenses properly.

"I feel that we have some work to do around internal auditing in schools," said Kathryn LeRoy, Superintendent at Polk County Schools.

The audit was done last school year, before LeRoy came on board. She called most of the issues "procedural issues" that can be remedied.

"I want to see it tightened up to reduce these (errors) as much as possible," she said.

One of the most alarming findings is at Tenoroc High School where auditors found the yearbook account nearly $50,000 in the the red.

The principal did not return our calls, but the superintendent said it happened under a previous administration after the school failed to sell a certain number of yearbooks.

"We're working on a plan to get it resolved," she said.

The audit found absolutely no signs of fraud, but it shows that most schools clearly have some work to do to make sure money does not fall into the wrong hands.

After the findings came out, LeRoy said principals and their staffs will be retrained on the proper bookkeeping policies.

"Also, we are going to include, in principal's evaluations, a portion around internal funding and those kinds of things," she said.

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