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Monroe Schools Improper Spending Being Audited for State Report
Tuesday, November 15, 2011 8:34:02 AM - Monroe Ohio

Graph shows former Treasurer Thorpe and ODE auditor Horton's projection differences. Source: ODE Puts Monroe Local Schools in Fiscal Caution

by John Beagle

Monroe Local Schools finances have taken a huge downward spiral on that is more than what was originally projected. Monroe's projected deficit for this school year is NEGATIVE $1.542 million, not the $785 thousand previously projected. All the district is saying is the additional deficit was due to 'improper spending," most of which is tied to the bond retirement account.

Dateline: May 24, 2011, Monroe News reports that the Monroe School District will deficit spend starting in 2012 and will become insolvent by 2014 if major financial adjustments are not made. The community was kept in the dark regarding school finances from May 24 until September 27, when Hardin and Dean reported their findings. 

In the report presented by School Treasurer Kelley Thorpe, the Five Year Forecast of the General Fund shows the cash position holding relatively unchanged from the previous year for 2010-2011.

Dateline September 26, 2001. Roger Hardin from the State of Ohio Department of Education officially puts Monroe Schools in Fiscal Caution. 

Dateline November 1, 2011Ken Ulm, the interim treasurer is replaced by the new Monroe Schools Treasurer, Holly Cahall.

Dateline November 30, 2011. ODE Recovery Plan Due 

Treasurer Cahall (Photo), Superintendent Lolli and the Board of Education are currently working on a recovery plan to address Monroe's dire financial situation.  

Monroe Locals Schools must submit a plan to the Ohio Department of Education by the end of November.

According to the district, Treasurer Cahall has received detailed transaction statements from the bond retirement account. It has been verified that approximately 1.4 million dollars had been improperly spent out of the fund. 

Improper Spending 

The statements also confirmed that the improper spending has occurred since 2007, and possibly as far back as 2005. The treasurer's office is currently in the process of matching expenditures from the account to the invoices that were paid to provide an accurate accounting of what was paid out of the fund. With this information, Cahall will be able to reconcile the bond account history to the data filed by our former treasurer. Should any inconsistencies be found, the Board will address them accordingly. 

"... improper spending has occurred since 2007...

Monroe's projected deficit for this school year is NEGATIVE $1.542 million, not the $785 thousand previously projected." 

The district was also notified this week that the Ohio Department of Education has requested that the auditor's office do a Performance Audit. This audit will take six to eight months to complete, and will provide information on the total performance of the district. A Performance Audit includes academics, staffing, finances, and a comparison of our district with three similar districts. The audit will provide our district with procedural recommendations and help guide future decision making.  Source: MLS, Main Street Monroe

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