At every school board meeting the first action item is often the approval of expense vouchers.
These vouchers cover schools’ operating expenses and pay for various things like computer upgrades, salaries and other basic district needs. Over the past year these vouchers have been passed meeting after meeting without much question regarding the items on the vouchers, but that may be changing.
During their first board meeting, newly elected board members Geoff Goddard and Lori Glenn both questioned the MUSD staff about the spending practices behind these vouchers.
Goddard scanned the itemized sheets just days before the meeting and found that on one line item the district appeared to be paying nearly $100 for a stick of 512mb computer memory while on another line the same purchase was only about $10.
“This is such a startling discrepancy that I hope it is just a typo and not what we are actually paying,” Goddard said. However, that is not the only discrepancy Goddard said he had seen.
“I haven’t gone through these vouchers with a fine tooth comb, but, just browsing over them, I have noticed five things that are not right,” he said.
While Goddard said the amount of money he was questioning might seem like pennies to the district over time, those pennies add up. “With these errors we could be throwing money out the window,” he added.
Goddard questioned charges, but Glenn questioned whether the district was exceeding the maximum allowable payouts on certain items. “Looking at our maximum allotted payouts on some of these items, it looks like we have exceeded those,” she said.
However, a representative from the district said maximum payout numbers may not be correct, and a presentation would be scheduled so the new board could get information on how business services works.
“It doesn’t seem to be working, so I don’t know what they want to give us a presentation on,” said school board member Tim White.
Photo by Michael K. Rich