STATE AUDIT: School Reacts To Investigation

The State Auditor is questioning how a Lincoln High School Football Booster Club was run.

In a report released Friday, it shows money for the club was deposited in a non-district bank account.

It also shows thousands of dollars from that account are unaccounted.

Retired Lincoln High Principal Al Graziano says the support of school activities depends on parent volunteers, including those who set up and manage fundraising activities.

“I would say it`s just not that big of an issue, and to keep track of every conceivable fundraising activity in a high school is a huge task,” says Graziano.

Graziano said parents would set up accounts for the team.

Former Head Football Coach Tom Mihalovich says those accounts were set up with the school’s blessing, and that’s the way he was taught to handle money for the program.

“The report clearly states there were some policies and procedures that weren’t communicated.  Not only myself but other coaches and if those had been in place they wouldn’t have had the investigation and speculation,” says Mihalovich.

Graziano says there were no bad intentions from parents, coaches or even staff; they just didn’t know the proper procedures to follow.

“These smaller support groups they`re not always bookkeepers and accountants and they don`t always know what the district`s expectations of them are,” says Graziano.

The auditors report shows more than $120,000was not properly deposited into a district approved account.  Instead it went into an account created by a former player’s parent.

“I know all of those parents that were involved in that football support group and they are just as honest as they can be, their soul intent was to raise money and help Lincoln produce a better football program,” says Graziano.

But nearly $21,000 raised from selling promotional cards is unaccounted for.

Mihalovich says he turned in that money to the office and says the books always came back even.  He thinks the money could have ended up in another school account.

“If you audit the other activities and sports it might be there it might just be misapplied, and I hope it is,” says Mihalovich.

The other sport the State Auditor looking into was the Lincoln High Baseball Program.

The Des Moines School District says it’s now implementing stricter rules to reduce the risk of similar accounting errors from happening again.

See how the State Auditor’s office responded to the investigation here.


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