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Selma School Board makes audit public

State examiners didn’t find any fraud during the audit of the Selma City Board of Education but the auditors did spot 38 findings that must be corrected.

“We did not detect anything during our audit,” Christine Harden said. “But that does not guarantee there was no fraud.”

The examiners presented their findings publicly Thursday night during the school board meeting without taking questions from the public or board members. Nobody from the public attended the meeting.

All the discrepancies in the audit occurred before Superintendent Dr. Austin Obasohan and Chief Financial Officer Maria Glover began their jobs. However, both said they take full responsibility for fixing the problems that affect the school’s financial system.

Among the findings of the audit: cash was understated by $114,957.95 in the general fund and overstated by $30,734.02 in the federal account; athletic gate receipts at Selma High School contained numerous errors; schools paid vendors without adequate supporting documentation; and the board used federal funds from The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to reimburse teachers not involved with special education.

Most of these findings are procedural, Glover said. The central office has begun development of a centralized bookkeeping system, along with other internal controls, which would help eliminate oversights and provide checks and balances. She warned there is no quick fix for the laundry list of problems.

“I don’t take this lightly,” Glover said. “We have much work to do.”

School Board President Barbara Stapp-Hiouas reinforced that the problems were inherited.

“They’ve been going on for years and years,” she said.

Obasohan said there are no plans for future public forums on the subject.

He said now that the problems are out in the open, it is time to go to work.

“My concern right now is to continue working on how we’re going to get our system stronger financially and educationally,” he said.