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TEA says Waxahachie ISD inflated attendance records

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The Ellis County Press

WAXAHACHIE - Waxahachie ISD was found to have inflated the average daily attendance (ADA) figures used to collect state aid, according to a Texas Education Agency audit.

TEA's financial audit division found the errors in a demand for total repayment of $107,699 according to statistics recently released in past TEA audits and the 2007 report from the Legislative Budget Board, a state body that conducts performance reviews on school districts.

According to the June 06 TEA audit, WISD was ordered to repay the TEA $43,808. The following year( March 07) auditors told WISD to pay $63,891 for the inflated attendance records.

Some of the findings from the Legislative Budget Board, 323-page performance review included:

WISD lacks the appropriate segregation of duties to provide internal controls over payroll

The WISD does not effectively use its automated work order system to manage the district's maintenance operations.

WISD has not conducted a physical inventory of assets since April 2003 and is not following the internal control process documented in the district's administrative regulations to manage its assets. The 2003 fixed assets records showed the district had more than $17 million of capital and controlled assets, but an inventory conducted in the same year found $3.2 million of these assets were missing.

From January to May 2004, according to the report, the district researched the missing items and located $900,000 of the assets and determined $2.1 million of the assets had been disposed of, and more than $114,000 of the assets were still missing.

In 2002 and 2003, The Ellis County Press utilized reams of public documents and helped uncover financial mismanagement in the WISD that ultimately resulted in the resignations and retirements of the business finance director (Bobby Parker and Dan Davis), two school trustees losing re-election races (David Walker, Linda Alvarez) and a tampering with government charges on former WISD maintenance employees who released the public documents.

They later alleged Davis of possibly over billing NASA during the Columbia space shuttle disaster in 2003, when debris landed on district-owned property and buildings.

In addition, school board trustees met at 8 a.m. on Saturday mornings to discuss financial problems with the district, a move critics said was an attempt to cover up problems.

Then-school board president Marylou Patterson, after the ECP reported on various financial issues, resigned and moved to Montana.

WISD officials could not be reached for comment as of press time for this article.

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