Archive for Thursday, August 24, 2006

White disputes district audit; Dorathy doesn’t

August 24, 2006

Former Baldwin School District Superintendent James White has taken exception to budget information released showing the district is $300,000 in the red. The school district, and its new auditor, stand behind it.

White has outlined his contentions in a detailed letter to the editor. He also sent it as an e-mail to almost everyone in the school district. Bob Bezek, school district attorney who also received the letter, has responded and it is also in the letters to the editor.

At odds is the state of the district's finances. White, who retired June 30, says he left the district on good financial footing. Supt. Paul Dorathy, who replaced White July 1, found discrepancies in the books and asked for a thorough audit. That audit found the district $300,000 in the red. White disputes that.

"I'm wanting to say that some of the information put out as fact is not true," said White, who has taken a job as superintendent in another Kansas school district. "I want to give the patrons and the board a chance to see another side of what happened.

"I just feel I need to respond," he said. "This is the first time in seven years I've responded to criticism in the newspaper. I felt pretty strong about it."

The district feels strongly about it, too.

"The district is standing by our auditor's report and believe the auditors have done a thorough job in their report and have come up with accurate financial accountings of the district," said Dorathy.

White contends that the auditor's numbers aren't correct and that he has "documentation" to prove that.

"The new superintendent and his auditor will have to justify those numbers with the board," said White. "I don't think any of the numbers I've shared are inaccurate. It just comes down to people reading what I've had to say and what you have to say."

White mentions in his letter that just as he was leaving the district, the bookkeeper reported to him $170,000 in unposted checks. He told her to post them and he'd return on that Saturday to make adjustments. However, it has been shown that those checks instead totaled $297,000 said Dorathy.

"I don't think that's correct," said White.

White claims in his letter that cash on hand when he left was roughly $700,000. However, a bond and interest payment is due Sept. 1 that totals $543,000, virtually wiping out the fund and leaving the district with $150,000 for the semester.

"You might check the records from last year," said White. "The same thing happened last year."

There are also another $170,000 worth of lease payments due over the next few months, said Dorathy.

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