Tuesday, November 27, 2007

School Committee Statement 11/27/07 (text)

Statement for November 27, 2007 Meeting

During the process of closing the financial books for the 2007 fiscal year, the Town Comptroller discovered irregularities in the school district’s accounts. Specifically, several 2007 expenses were charged against the 2008 budget. This practice is not allowed under Massachusetts Municipal Finance Law.

The Franklin School Committee, in conjunction with the Town Council, immediately ordered a complete legal and financial review of the circumstances surrounding these irregularities. Our effort includes an independent professional audit covering fiscal years 2005, 2006 and 2007.

In addition, the school district’s finance director has been placed on administrative leave.

Preliminary information indicates that these accounting irregularities may result in a shortfall of approximately $590,000 in the budget for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2007.

However, the internal review and independent audit are still ongoing and the precise circumstances of the problem will not be known until both are completed. We expect the results to be presented to the School Committee and the Town Council sometime in mid to late December.

On the advice of our attorney, the School Committee and School Administration will not discuss this matter publicly or privately until such time as the review and audit are completed. Further discussion before then could create significant budget, legal and personnel issues for the schools and the town that would jeopardize efforts to understand the full circumstances of the situation.

Members of the School Committee and School Administration take this matter very seriously, which is why we have initiated a comprehensive review and audit and took the personnel action we did. We will provide a full legal and financial accounting as soon as possible after the detailed results of the investigation are completed.

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