Waukee School Board Defends Spending, Refutes Parts of Audit

DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Waukee School Board is defending the findings of a state audit which revealed spending state officials say were not in the best interest of taxpayers.

"We realize anytime our finances are cast in a negative light, we need to examine our policies and procedures," said board president, Wendy Liskey, at Monday's school board meeting.

Liskey took aim the 83,000 spent on administrative staff retreats in Kansas City and Omaha over a four-year period. She doesn't deny the money spent but says the money was spent wisely.

"We still see these retreats as valuable for our administrators to improve personally and professionally so we will continue this practice but will have more oversight on the types and expenditures."

The audit shows the district spend on average $16,000 on its annual three-day retreats. The audit also interviewed school leaders at six other districts similar in size to Waukee. It found they always held in - state retreats and budgeted between $4,000 - $5,000 for them. Going forward, Waukee School District leaders say it will only host retreats in - state and will no longer pay for administrators to attend.

The school board also explained the nearly $15,000 spent at metro restaurants. The audit called it questionable spending because it was "unable to determine whether the meeting had to be at the allotted time or whether the meeting was held at meal time for the purpose f dining during the meeting." Liskey says the only money misspent were two visits to Perkins in 2017.

The school board also wanted to make clear, the $27,000 spent on office furniture was part of an office - wide remodel not just for the superintendent's office as the audit showed. Liskey says the money to purchase the furniture came from the PPEL fund, which is can be used for remodeling at school buildings. The board insists the money did not come from the general fund.

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