Indian River School District Responds to Audit - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Indian River School District Responds to Audit

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SELBYVILLE, Del. - One day after the Delaware State Auditor released an audit into the district's handling of finances, the district is responding.

At a press conference on Friday, Superintendent Susan Bunting said the district had no idea that CFO Patrick Miller was mishandling funds, and creating "an environment ripe with intimidation tactics, favoritism, and nepotism," according to the audit.

"We have had not a single audit report ever come back showing us that we had an issue," Bunting said. "Therefore we had no reason to suspect we had anything but stellar performance with our financial system." 

The district said they've made immediate changes to their financial processes, including disciplinary actions for anyone who shares their passwords, and no more food purchases with district funds unless it's for student instructional purposes. All the modifications can be found on pages 24-25 on the 29 page report, where the district's response to the audit is also published.

Bunting acknowledged Miller was trusted due to his experience, and promised more stringent oversight for the position going forward.

"He [was] working in the district for nearly twenty years," she said. "The board had established great trust in him."

When questioned about Miller being hired after he plead no contest to tampering with public records after serving as business manager for the Brandywine School District, Board President Charles Bireley said, "We were told he was exonerated from the charges." 

Bunting noted that of the $700 million dollars spent during the investigation's five year period, only 0.02% were found to be questionable or unclear. Bunting says she hopes voters keep that in mind when they go to vote on the referendum, where the Indian River School District is asking for $7.35 million in taxpayer funds to help with school programs, security, technology, and more.

"We will move forward with doing what we have been asked to do, but we don't think that miniscule amount of money is something that should be a detriment to our students' future," she said.

Bunting said the district has not discussed yet if anyone will be penalized as a result of the audit. 

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