More than $121,000 of money tied to the Des Moines Lincoln football program failed to be deposited to a proper school district account from May 30, 2003, to Oct. 31, 2012, according to a report released today by Iowa state auditor Mary Mosiman.
Des Moines Public Schools officials asked the auditor’s office to investigate questions about athletic finances at Lincoln near the beginning of last October, in the wake of firing then-football coach Tom Mihalovich and two assistant coaches.
The report indicates $121,267.58 was not properly deposited to the district. According to the report, a non-district account opened in May 2003 by a parent of a former football player was used to support the football program and it “prevented the collections from being subject to the District’s oversight and approval process to ensure the collections were properly accounted for and used for appropriate purposes.”
Lincoln’s football-related fundraising money was solicited by the daughter of Mihalovich and he handled invoices and deposits, the report stated.
The report indicated that $91,057.58 was deposited to the non-district bank account during the period of the audit. Disbursements from that account totaled $69,656 — including $8,500 to the district.
The report also indicated $1,500 related to Lincoln’s baseball program was deposited in a non-district account.
Copies of the report have been filed with Iowa’s Division of Criminal Investigation, the Polk County Attorney’s office and the Attorney General’s office, according to a news release.
“Over the period of several years, the Lincoln football program had become an off-the-books financial endeavor that did not follow district procedures nor have district oversight,” Des Moines Public Schools Superintendent Tom Ahart said today after the audit was released. “We are grateful to the work of our own internal auditor as well as the State Auditor’s office in identifying the scope of this issue.”
The school district also said today it has implemented several steps to improve compliance with district procedures and reduce the risk of future occurrences. Among them:
* Hiring a second internal auditor.
* Conducting an internal audit last year of student activity funds which found no new or further district-wide concerns relating to fundraising proceeds.
* Providing staff members with a new financial accounting manual that provides procedures on several areas related to fundraising and makes high school activities directors responsible for a monthly review of financial activity within their department. The rules also state funds must be turned over to the district for deposit immediately and a log system used to account for collection.
* Requiring that fundraising activities must be approved by both the activities director and principal before they are initiated.
* Instructing the DMPS controller to works with banks each year to identify all accounts that use the district’s tax identification number to ensure the accounts are properly authorized.
* Requiring activities directors to attend a training session this year on student activity funding sponsored by the Iowa Association of School Business Offices.
* Holding monthly meetings that include the district’s business and finance office with all school bookkeepers.
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