School audits

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Cape Girardeau School Board is to be commended for the emphasis it is putting on financial accounting, particularly in light of some major problems over the years in the way the district has handled its finances, having a cumulative effect of undermining the public's confidence.

The board has decided that switching auditing firms every few years would be another way to check on whether the district's money is being handled properly.

Most of the accounting problems in the district, however, have not been related to faulty auditing. Rather, most of the problems have been created, in one way or another, by members of the district's financial staff. In recent months, major steps have been taken to replace personnel connected to some of the financial missteps, including the former superintendent.

It was the district's current auditing firm -- Beussink, Hey, Roe, Seabaugh & Stroder LLC -- that listed some of the district's most recent financial problems in its audit report.

The Beussink firm has been the district's auditor for many years. The board's new policy calls for switching auditors every three to five years.

As in everything else, there are many layers of competency among firms that provide professional services like financial audits. It appears the Beussink firm has served the district well in alerting the board to serious problems and concerns.

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