Des Moines Public Schools Responds to State Auditor’s Report on Lincoln High School Football Program

At the request of Des Moines Public Schools, the Auditor of State has completed and released a report on financial issues involving the Lincoln High School football program. DMPS requested the State Auditor’s investigation due to discrepancies found by the school district’s internal auditor in fundraising practices by the football program under its former coach.

The State Auditor’s report – which their office provides to the Polk County Attorney, the Attorney General, and the Division of Criminal Investigation – confirmed many of the preliminary findings of the internal auditor at DMPS.

The report shows that between May 2003 and October 2012, a total of $83,532.58 in funds and collections relating to the football program, raised largely from the sale of poster advertising and discount cards, were accounted for but not deposited in bank accounts which had school district oversight according to school district procedures. Instead, funds were deposited in accounts established by private individuals.

The report also finds that a total of $20,955 from the sale of discount cards between 2008 and 2012 remains unaccounted, as does the assumed value of $16,780 in “free” discount cards provided to the football program by its fundraising vendor.

“Over the period of several years, the Lincoln football program had become an off-the-books financial endeavor that did not follow district procedures nor have district oversight,” said Superintendent Tom Ahart. “We are grateful to the work of our own internal auditor as well as the State Auditor’s office in identifying the scope of this issue.”

Prior to today’s release of the State Auditor’s report, DMPS implemented several steps to improve compliance with district procedures and reduce the risk of future occurrences, including:

  • A second internal auditor was hired by the school district (DMPS is the only school district in Iowa with its own internal audit staff).
  • The district conducted an internal audit last year of Student Activity Funds which found no new or further district-wide concerns relating to fundraising proceeds.
  • A new Financial Accounting Manual provides procedures on several areas related to fundraising, such as:
    • High school activities directors are responsible for a monthly review of financial activity within their department;
    • Additional procedures relating to the responsibilities of Activities Director have been implemented for consistency among our schools and programs;
    • Funds must be turned over to the district for deposit immediately and a log system used to account for collection;
    • Fundraising activities must be approved by both the Activities Director and Principal before initiating.
  • All principals, bookkeepers and office managers must confirm with the district that they understand the new Financial Accounting Manual and their responsibilities.
  • The DMPS controller works with banks each year to identify all accounts that use the district’s tax identification number to ensure the accounts are properly authorized.
  • The district no longer allows for fundraising companies to pay for fundraising expenses from cash collections; all proceeds must be deposited in the district’s student activity account and the district is then invoiced by the fundraising vendor.
  • Activities directors are required to attend a training session this year on student activity funding sponsored by the Iowa Association of School Business Offices.
  • The district’s Business and Finance Office holds monthly meetings with all school bookkeepers.

To download a complete copy of the State Auditor’s report, click here.