School Board OKs anti-fraud measures


When the Moffat County School District released information about the alleged embezzlement of about $50,000 by an employee earlier this summer, school officials pledged to examine internal policies and attempt to recoup as much of the missing money as possible.

As superintendent Pete Bergmann pointed out Thursday night, recovering the stolen funds is now a process for attorneys to resolve. But, as far as internal controls go, Bergmann said he thinks newly proposed measures can prevent a similar situation from occurring again.

During its monthly meeting Thursday night, School Board members gave administrators the green light to begin implementing a series of changes concerning the management of petty cash and student activity funds. The proposal stems from an August investigation into missing money from Moffat County High School's activities account.

School district officials and officers from the Craig Police Department said high school bookkeeper Susan Lord was the focus of the investigation. Lord, who resigned shortly after the district announced that money was missing, has not been charged with the theft, prosecutors said Thursday.

"I think a combination of all of these things will reduce the misappropriation of funds in the future," Bergmann said about the proposed changes.

The proposal lists a series of checks and balances between those handling funds and the school district's finance director. It also stipulates timelines for when deposits will be made, cash handling procedures, and conducting credit checks on applicants for bookkeeping positions, among other new provisions.

"Basically, (they're) just good, sound business practices," Bergmann said.

The superintendent said the district had always had a "standard operating procedure" for handling activity funds and petty cash. Thursday's action merely begins the process of formalizing those procedures and broadening them in an attempt to reduce possible cases of employee fraud, he said.

The School Board:

• Approved, 6-0, supporting the Colorado Northwestern Community College mill levy extension proposal. If voters approve the 3-mill extension, it would raise about $1.3 million, which represents nearly one-third of the total budget for the Craig campus.

• Approved, 6-0, the second reading of policies regarding wellness, fundraising, and activity/athletic fees.

• Approved, 6-0, resolutions stating the school board's formal opposition to amendments 38 and 39, and Referendum J, all of which are proposals that voters will decide in the November general election.

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