A report from an on-site fiscal monitoring review conducted at the Barry Intermediate School programs by the State of Michigan Department of Education has charged the ISD with several irregularities, with “further action” required.
Noted in the 19-page report are a lack of internal controls in most areas, inability to match budget figures with actual expenses in several areas, inconsistencies in benefits charged to salaries, $129,58.83 in questioned costs and $34,849.14 in misclassified costs.
The report said approved costs reclassified into a different budget years were noted. In one example, Support Services, salary expenditures were overstated in the general ledger by $7,581.61, a variance of 48.26 percent. Benefits were overstated by $3,557.72, a variance of 70.84 percent, according to the report.
BISD Superintendent Rich Franklin disputes the reviews methods and conclusions. He points to the district’s 2018 audit, required annually by law, from Briggs, Hausserman Thompson & Dickinson.
Their report said: “In our opinion, the financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the respective financial position of the governmental activities, each major fund, and the aggregate remaining fund information of the Barry Intermediate School District, as of June 30, 2018, and the respective changes in financial position thereof for the year then ended in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.”
“Our auditors said we were clear; there were no flags…we don’t think there is even an accounting problem, it’s a technical report, with technical compliance with grant requirements and standards.
“Much of the report focuses on discrepancies between state and school fiscal years...there was no charge of misconduct,” Franklin said Wednesday. “They gave us “X” number of dollars; we can show we spent every dollar on the programs as we submitted to the state grant system.”
On April 10, a five member team from the Department of Education came on an unannounced fiscal monitoring visit and worked in the conference room for two days, he said.
“They said I would get a written report, but wouldn’t give a timeline. I got the report June 6.”
“I am confident of the facts and the truth is on our side. I still think when you are honest and do your job, you will be vindicated. We have some angry parents and staff; I’m only sorry we can’t give better answers to the parents, local school and our staff.”
The report also recommends moving the programs to another ISD. “I know in my heart and head that we have run great programs for kids; I don’t see anyone, schools or otherwise that could fill that gap.”
The BISD can appeal; they have to make a decision by June 20 and then will have another two weeks to actually appeal.
“We have to analyze it, figure out what is going on. We just got the working papers, the documents that accountants use as their reasoning when they write reports, so we’ll get into it.. It looks like we’ve done some horrible things; we don’t think we’ve done anything wrong…this is so bizarre that I’m having trouble making sense of it.”
Barry ISD provides Early On services to young children with special needs, Great Start Collaborative and Great Start Parent Coalition services to children and parents and in cooperation with many community partners, and Great Start Readines Preschool programs in Delton Kellogg, Hastings Area School System and through Community Action Head Start.