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November 26, 2022

SBHS officials miffed by $1.2m absent from books

San Benito High School trustees accepted an independent audit of their finances at their regular meeting this week in which the firm highlighted more than $1 million that was not on the books.
Among other items discussed, the auditor highlighted the reconciliation error with the county treasurer’s office where $1,203,584 was not in the high school’s records.
“So the county treasurer is saying you have $1.2 million dollars more than you have in the ledger,” explained David Randel, the certified public accountant who presented a report to trustees Monday. “And that makes me kind of nervous.”
The 2013-14 fiscal year audit report was prepared by Vavrinek, Trine, Day & Co., LLP and presented to trustees at the board meeting.
“We make financial decisions on these numbers. That’s a little scary,” said Trustee Evelyn Muro. “We could suffer the plus side. We could suffer the minus side.”
The auditor said with the county treasurer’s office, “supposedly they’ve had staffing issues the last few years.”
Muro asked what the reconciliation error would mean for the district, which did not know about the money.
“But there’s no repercussions to that, right?” said Muro.
“None that I’m aware of,” the auditor said.
“That’s amazing,” Muro said as she shook her head.
As far as the process goes, the county treasurer’s office and the county office of education handle funds that eventually make it to the high school’s control.
“The way it works is the county treasurer receives money on behalf of the district and then they communicate with the county office of education, which manages our software and they in turn communicate with us,” Roseanne Lascano, the high school’s director of finance and operation, told the Free Lance.
Lascano was unsure where communication broke down. She’s not sure if the county treasurer’s office didn’t get information to the county office of education or the county office of education had the information and ignored it. There is new software at the county treasurer’s office and new personnel in the county office of education, Lascano said.
“It sounds like there were several moving parts—so to speak—and somehow the money was sitting there. It was just never properly credited to our accounts,” she said.
San Benito High School Superintendent John Perales could not be reached immediately for comment. Several districts reported similar issues and have had differences between the funds listed in their records and those kept with county treasurer’s office, officials said during the meeting.
As for why the amount was so large and no one at the high school was asking for the missing money, Lascano suggested it may have built up over time.
“We don’t know how many years worth of problem this is,” she told the Free Lance.

Katie Helland
A staff member edited this provided article.

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