This somewhat blurry cell phone photo by Jacob Mowry shows about 70 students among many more wearing green to school on November 30, 2007 to protest perceived cover-up by administration about improper use of high school ASB funds—way back then.
By Patric Hedlund
As we go to press the El Tejon Unified School District is hearing the results of an audit of the Frazier Mountain High School ASB (Associated Student Body) fund for year 2008-2009.
The Kern County Superintendent of Schools began the audit after learning of long-existing irregularities in handling of student money by the FMHS administration.
Trustee Cathy Wallace said in August, “I thought the ASB account was put to bed.” She and Paula Regan expressed impatience with Trustees Anita Anderson and John Fleming who met with a forensic auditing consultant paid by The Mountain Enterprise.
Accountant Rachel Unell was asked by this paper to assist students in their efforts to understand why their accounts appeared to be missing $10,000 or so.
ASB Officers Nick Onyshko and Tammie Christianson came to the Board of Trustees in November 2007 to say on behalf of students: “We want our money back.” The administration did not take action.
During school years 2006-07 and 2007-08 major problems surfaced in the “cartgate” purchase of capital equipment such as a golf cart by then-ASB advisor Rob Roy and Principal Dan Penner without agreement by ASB officers, as required by law.
The initial draft report presented to the board Thursday, Oct. 14 indicates the audit did not go back three years, to 2006- 07, as students had requested of the administration last year.
The students’ goal was to see if the administration owes money to the students, and if so, to come to an agreement about how to rectify the error. They also wanted to put in place procedures to avoid mishandling of funds in the future.
During the year now being audited, Roy was no longer in charge of ASB funds. By 2008- 09, efforts were being made by the current ASB advisor, Tim Garcia, to correct the problems of which he was aware. In addition, The Mountain Enterprise was reporting publicly about some of the problems that appeared to have occurred.
Despite that, the audit reveals that in this “good” year, appropriate cash control procedures were not being utilized; there was no inventory of student store merchandise; checks were deposited improperly; fundraising request forms were not complete; cash disbursement procedures were not followed; and ASB funds were used as “donations” to the principal and put to questionable use not within the proper expense centers for the ASB. The item on the agenda is for informationonly to the trustees. No action is anticipated.
Interim Superintendent Dr. Mark Fulmer acted this summer to order an audit as soon as he learned from Anderson and Fleming about the problem. Acting Superintendent Dr. Danny Whetton is just now becoming aware of the history.
The Mountain Enterprise has asked in an email if there are plans to take an audit back two more years. We will report the reply.
This is part of the October 16, 2009 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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