An audit was released Thursday detailing problems at the Iowa School Board Association during 2008-2009. The organization now has new leadership, new financial practices and says it's working on regaining credibility.
Even though the Iowa Association of School Boards is privately run, millions of tax payer dollars fund it. 2 years ago the organization was accused of misusing that money, and now there's proof.
“A lot of transactions were taking place, loans transfers and those types of things. without really documented discussion or approval through the board minutes and stuff so a lot of oversight was lacking,” said Iowa State Auditor Dave Vaudt.
In addition to lack of oversight, the IASB board was criticized for investing in commodities, even after the attorney general's office warned, in writing, it might be illegal.
The audit states, “these investments and transactions not only put public funds at risk of loss, but also resulted in losses..." It was a loss of more than $1,000,000.
“Regretfully we find that many a times boards become comfortable with the management team and sometimes forget they have that fiduciary responsibility back to the tax payers and others to make sure the money spent appropriately,” said Vaudt.
The audit also found some IASB employees worked as independent contractors for IASB, making thousands in excess of their salaries.
Those now in charge say it is all in past.
“Our board now meets monthly, we have an executive committee that looks at all finances and all spending. We`ve established a protocol in administrative rules and regulations around approval of funds,” said Tom Downs, the Executive Director of IASB.
Tom Downs said with the new practices include more scrutiny and transparency.
“We`ve moved much further forward as an organization serving kids through school boards. I am very pleased that membership meaning the school districts throughout the state are encouraging as we move forward providing support for them.
“Yes I think the lessons were learned. Obviously there were mistakes that can`t be changed, however they have really taken the approach of being positive towards our suggestions and recommendations,” said Vaudt.