MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, MI – Proper accounting procedures were not followed aback allowance cards were purchased for agents associates by the Muskegon Heights Public Academy Academy System, according to an absolute investigation.
Public funds were acclimated to acquirement $25,000 in allowance cards during December 2017 and June 2018 at the administration of Administrator Rane Garcia as allotment of a affairs to absorb agents and abutment agents who are active by contractors.
At the appeal of the Michigan Department of Education, Thrun Law Close was assassin by the Muskegon Area Intermediate Academy District to investigate the gift agenda purchases, some of which were fabricated by an MAISD employee. The academy pays the MAISD for banking services.
MLive/Muskegon Chronicle received a archetype of the investigative report on Wednesday, Sept. 19, via a Freedom of Information Act request.
The analysis bent the purchases were a “technical infraction” of the Michigan Academy Code, which is accompaniment law. MDE is asking the academy to advance behavior and procedures to anticipate agnate infractions in the future, according to an MDE spokesman.
However, a annual absolution from the academy, issued on Monday, Sept. 24, said that the allowance agenda administration “did not breach the law.”
“These allegation absolutely abutment Administrator Garcia’s accomplishments as allowable and within the educational mission of the academy,” Garland Kilgore, lath president, said in the statement.
When asked to explain why the academy said the purchases didn’t breach accompaniment law, Garcia said, “The report acutely states there was no bent intent, artlessly a abstruse infraction.”
The abode reveals that two banking service contractors – one of whom was alive for the MAISD at the time – did not chase “regular accounting protocol” aback purchasing the allowance cards. In both instances, accounting acquirement orders were not processed, which would accept been the archetypal procedure, according to the report.
“The allowance cards were purchased anon from the coffer as an able and answerable agency of purchase,” Garcia said in an email response regarding the investigative report.
Superintendent’s $25K allowance agenda spending a ‘technical infraction’
The academy’s acquirement orders are advised by MAISD Associate Administrator for Authoritative Services Mike Schluentz, according to the report. Since there were no acquirement orders, the MAISD was unaware of the allowance agenda purchases.
“We accommodate accounting services, not banking oversight,” MAISD Administrator John Severson said when asked to animadversion about the investigative findings. “The agents affiliate who did that did not affix with us in the axial office. We will be afterward up with that agents affiliate to accomplish abiding it doesn’t appear again.”
It is believed that the advisers purchased the allowance cards “at the administration of the Administrator Garcia,” according to the report.
In December 2017, the allowance agenda acquirement was agitated out by an absolute architect not active by the MAISD, according to the report.
The contractor beatific an email to the academy’s coffer in December requesting allowance cards totaling $18,900 additional fees, according to the report. There were 90 cards of $200 each, 15 cards of $30 anniversary and 20 cards of $20 each. Names were arresting assimilate the cards.
In June, an MAISD agent fabricated a allowance agenda acquirement for the academy in a agnate manner, according to the report. The agent went to the academy’s coffer and fabricated a “miscellaneous” abandonment to acquirement 42 allowance cards accretion $6,300: 21 for $200 and 21 for $100.
Superintendent admits to spending $25K in academy funds on allowance cards
All allowance cards were broadcast to agents active by third-party contractors, except for $300 annual of cards that apprenticed advisers did not pick up in December and $1,400 annual not best up in June, according to an analysis by Schluentz that was included in the report.
There was “no affirmation of annexation or added misappropriation,” according to the report.
The MAISD Lath of Education reviewed the analytic abode findings in bankrupt affair on Monday, Sept. 17.
On Tuesday, Sept. 18, the MDE issued a annual absolution on the amount that acclaimed that no bounded behavior were abandoned in the allowance agenda purchases.
Two academy policies – on “student fundraising” and “membership” – were provided to the firm for review. Garcia was not interviewed, according to the report. The close advised all MAISD behavior and “relevant affairs and communications” provided by the MAISD.
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The MDE has asked the academy to submit an action plan to abode the investigation’s findings.
“MDE is allurement the academy to advance and apparatus behavior and procedures to advice abstain and abate the adventitious of incidents like this occurring again,” David Head, communications adumbrative for MDE, said in an email acknowledgment to MLive/Muskegon Chronicle on Tuesday, Sept. 18.
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Schluentz’s gift agenda analysis included suggestions to accomplish the activity added reliable:
The academy lath will advance a “plan of action” to abode the report, Kilgore said in a statement.
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