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Issues linger with missing fundraising money

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by Michele Catahay

Guam - Auditors at the Department of Education are working on auditing non-appropriated funds for all 41 public schools. While it's a new school year, it seems that prior cases involving missing fundraising money have yet to be resolved. 

DOE Chief Auditor Lester Kuykendall says they're required by law to audit fundraising money annually. Students raise these funds through bake sales and other means for clubs and organizations. DOE has started auditing expenditures for the last fiscal year and expect to complete these audits by Christmas time. Kuykendall says so far, they're coming across the same issues noted in prior years.

"You have inexperienced people actually doing book keeping functions. So it's difficult for a lot of new people to do book keeping," he said.  "While some people can't even balance a checkbook, they're asking them to do the job with no training with $100,000 accounts."

Kuykendall says he's been working with the schools to ensure proper training is in place and that procedures are updated. DOE has since been hoping to close a couple of cases surrounding missing funds. Nearly two years ago, more than $90,000 went missing at Southern High School.

"The records went over to the Attorney General's Office over a year ago now," noted the auditor.  "We have not heard anything on that case. We don't know what's happening with that. The person involved is still employed at Southern High School, not in the capacity to deal with non-appropriated funds, but we haven't heard back from the AG on any prosecution."

Then there's a second case involving missing money at Simon Sanchez High School. The seniors at the Yigo campus last year found out funds were missing several days before graduating. Kuykendall says the Guam Police Department has taken over that case, adding, "They have started the investigation into the incident at Simon Sanchez High School. We have no records of Simon Sanchez. The Guam Police Department started the investigation, confiscated all the records and the AG is continuing the investigation at SSHS."

While time has gone by without prosecution, Kuykendall is hoping for some type of resolution. He says money needs to be paid back simply because these funds were raised by the students themselves.  "I think the main is that they have restitution first, then prosecution," he said.

While DOE hopes to get these cases resolved, all other audits of public schools will be completed by December.

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