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Regional Superintendent Defends Audit Criticism

WGIL Newsroom . Local News 308

Bonnie Harris. Photo from www.roe33.net

A recent audit into the finances of the Knox County Regional Office of Education turns up a finding it made the last time an audit was conducted.

The Illinois Auditor General’s Fiscal Year 2013 audit into the local R.O.E. finds that there are not sufficient internal financial controls in order to adhere with generally accepted accounting principles — especially as it relates to grant activity.

The Auditor says someone needs to be hired to be able to bring the books up to snuff, but Regional Superintendent Bonnie Harris tells WGIL unless a financial windfall hits the office, she can’t do that.

“The money’s not there, and what we do have, we certainly want to use for the students and for the teachers and for the administrators,” Harris said.  “That’s what we’re about.  We’re not about trying to — I shouldn’t say — fill somebody else’s pockets.  I understand what they would like to have.  If we have the money, we would be glad to accommodate that.  This is a finding that I’m comfortable with, as far as there’s not much I can do about it.”

Harris says not being able to hire someone like a full-time accountant is a problem many small Regional Offices of Education have. The office’s over $735,000 budget is, in large part, made up of state revenue, with only $88,000 coming from local money.

The auditor made two findings in the Fiscal Year 2012 audit, while this audit only had the single finding.

You can read the full audit report by CLICKING HERE (pdf file).