DeSoto school board hires investigator to audit spending

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The DeSoto school board has hired outside investigators to review recent spending to see if any laws were broken or if any money can be recouped, The Dallas Morning News reported.

The board on Thursday hired Weaver, a Texas-based accounting firm, to conduct a forensic audit of spending over at least the past four years. That study will examine everything from travel expenses to vendor contracts.

The audit comes after the board had to lay off teachers, eliminate programs and close a school in the wake of questionable spending by the previous administration, the newspaper reported. Last year, the district had to use reserves and shuffle money to cover expenses.

The Morning News reported that finances will tighten further due to an estimated $5 million reduction in state funding because enrollment dropped by about 700 students this school year.

Local, state and federal agencies are all looking into DeSoto school spending – local law enforcement has asked for information, the Texas Education Agency is reviewing documents, and representatives from the Internal Revenue Service visited the district recently, the newspaper reported.

Noncharges have been filed, and the Morning News said law enforcement agencies have not publicly acknowledged opening any investigations.

Weaver is expected to take about six weeks to complete its audit, which will cost $127,210 — or more if the examination is expanded.

“I don’t see that we have any recourse except to go forward,” trustee Kathy Goad said at the meeting. “We need to find out what has happened in the past. We need to come to a conclusion to this problem. And we need to put it to rest.” 

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