There was never a "leak" to the press about the audit, said Rockwood Stakeholder for Real Solutions (RS for RS) co-founder Eileen Tyrrell, after Thursday night's comments made at the Rockwood School District Board of Education meeting.
She said an RS for RS representative called the Missouri State Auditor's Office at the end of January to inquire if the Rockwood district had made the 2012 audit list. "The answer was yes," she emailed Patch Friday morning. "We, in turn, put out a press release! The Auditors' Office DID NOT leak it to the press.
"RS for RS 'informed' the press."
RS for RS members describe themselves as "a non-partisan group of taxpaying Rockwood citizens who recognize the recent negative events which have been given much media coverage are a result of a lack of transparency, fiscal irresponsibility and exclusion by district officials of parents and taxpayers in the decision-making process."
Rockwood District employees at the April 12 Board of Education meeting addressed questions regarding the state audit, and subsequently provided clarification on what they stated was the reason for the audit in a video entitled Beyond the Headlines. To view the video, click here.
On Feb. 22, RS for RS issued the following press release about the audit (this is published verbatim as it was distributed by the coalition):
The Missouri State Auditor’s Office has added the Rockwood School District to its audit list for 2012. Rockwood is scheduled to be audited sometime in the second half of 2012.
Rockwood Stakeholders for Real Solutions requested the audit after discovering that Rockwood School Board member Steve Smith serves as an employee of Glenn Construction Co. while also serving previously as school board president overseeing the awarding of millions of dollars in construction management projects to Glenn Construction Co. – often with little to no competitive bidding. (Mr. Smith resigned his position as board president earlier this year; however, he still maintains his seat on the board, which expires in April 2015.)
The revelation lead to a series of investigative articles in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper and resulted in the district revising their bid process for construction projects.
The intent of the audit request is to assure the taxpayers of the Rockwood School District that district operations are in accordance and compliance with the regulations, laws, and statutes of the State of Missouri as they apply to the operation of public school districts.
Rockwood School District went through its last state compliance audit 18 years ago in 1994. That audit yielded 65 recommendations over 15 areas of operation: construction projects, district-owned vehicle use, compensation and personnel policies, student activity funds, petty cash, transportation contracts, accounting system and financial reporting, budgeting procedures, ballot issues and printing cost, missing funds, bidding and rental policies, controls over disbursements, maintenance and custodial management service contracts, energy program, and general fixed assets records and procedures.
“By putting the Rockwood School District on their audit list, the cost of approximately $180,000 for the audit will come out of the auditor’s office’s budget and not the school district’s, a fact that is very satisfactory to our coalition,” states Eileen Tyrrell, RS for RS co-founder and spokesperson.
“While we feel a compliance audit is very much needed, the average stakeholder found it hard to understand why the audit cost should come directly out of district funds and not state funds – especially in light of the recent expose on the Rockwood bidding and proposal process.”