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Audit uncovers millions in improper school district spending

December 28, 2018 GMT

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) — Another state audit of the Mason City school district has uncovered more than $2.1 million in improper disbursements consisting largely of salary overpayments during eight years, according to a report issued Friday.

More than $1.3 million was salary to 66 mainly administrative employees that exceeded the authorized pay and increases, the report said. The figure also included other monetary benefits, such as vehicle and cellphone allowances given to some employees. Hundreds of thousands more in improper disbursements covered district contributions to retirement and annuity accounts.


“We identified several administrative personnel who received a percentage increase which differed from the percentage increase approved by the board, as well as certain benefit payments issued to various administrative personnel which had not been reviewed and/or approved by the board,” the auditors said in the report.

The school board president and vice president didn’t immediately return messages from The Associated Press. Cerro Gordo County Attorney Carlyle Dalen said he has not yet had time to review the report.

District officials had expressed concerns about district spending to state audit officials in August 2017 before the state officials released an audit report for fiscal year 2015. That report noted more than $108,000 of improper disbursements included nearly $69,000 in improper vacation payouts to five former employees. The follow-up audit released Friday covered July 2009 through August 2017.

The new audit also noted improper disbursements of nearly $172,000 in salary and other separation package payments to former Superintendent Anita Micich, who was forced out of her post in June 2016. The auditors said the money was charged to the July 1, 2016, June 30, 2017, fiscal year but was considered improper because the public purpose of the resignation agreement had not been documented.

Associated Press attempts to reach Micich were unsuccessful.