The Paso Robles Joint Unified School District board of trustees approved spending as much as $50,000 on a non-audit examination of the district’s finances and alleged fraud during the previous superintendent’s administration.
Board trustees on Tuesday night voted 5-2 to set aside the funds to pay Eide Bailly, a certified public accounting and business advisory firm, to look into the district’s reserve loss, $3 million budget shortfall and alleged fraud perpetrated by previous Superintendent Chris Williams and his administration.
Eide Bailly was founded in 1917, has over 40 offices in 15 states and is considered a top 25 CPA firm in the nation. At a later meeting, trustees will select three different areas for the firm to investigate.
Trustee Chris Bausch broached the idea of an audit when relaying comments and questions he’d been receiving.
At a previous board meeting, people called for a state audit of the school, following the release of a memo from current Superintendent Curt Dubost, attempting to answer questions from the public concerning Williams’ tenure.
Trustees Joan Summers and Stephanie Ulibarri voted against spending the money, citing the district’s ongoing financial problems.
The firm estimated it would cost the District $75,000 to determine “the causes for the reduction to the fund balance over recent history, recommend improvement to policies and procedures and assess fraud risk.”
Trustees had concerns and capped it at $50,000.
The district’s reserves dropped to 0.96% in September of 2018. School districts the size of Paso Robles are required to have a 3% reserve. The reserves have since been raised to 2.68%.
Over the past nine months the district, with trustees’ approval, cut $2.1 million from the 2019-20 budget and is working on cutting $800,000 from the 2020-21 budget.