School district to provide audit report update to state

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By John Severance

With a short agenda, the Los Alamos Board of Education held a lunch meeting Wednesday at its Trinity Drive facility.
The first item of business was the audit report, which came out in February.
The New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED) sent a memo to the state’s 89 school districts and local school authorities on Tuesday outlining the audit process currently underway. The memo describes the timeline for the audit so school districts have a clear understanding of the process and how it may impact the department’s annual budget review.
“The reason for this audit is clear. It’s about transparency and fairness.” said Secretary-Designate Hanna Skandera. “Fraud and abuse of the state’s funding system will not be tolerated. Parents and taxpayers have the right to know their dollars are being spent fairly across the state. Gaming the system in one district means fewer dollars for well-deserving students in another.”
Los Alamos Public Schools Chief Financial Officer John Wolfe said the district received the memo from NMPED.
“They were just asking for an update on the status of some of the information on our report,” Wolfe said. “An example was I gave credit to one of our staff members who worked on our bank reconciliations. Before, they (the bank reconciliations) were lagging. Now, we are right on schedule. She has done a great job getting us back on track.”
Wolfe later unveiled the quarterly expense report. The big-ticket item was transportation costs and Wolfe said that all the funds in that category have been spent.
With future fuel bills and employee costs, Wolfe estimates the fund will be overspent by about $46,000.
“Last year, the board transferred money from the lease fund to cover the costs,” Wolfe said.
Wolfe said there is not as much money in the fund because of rising fuel costs and ridership is down as well.
“That’s part of what they use to calculate how much money we get,” he said.
The school board also passed a motion 3-0 to approve the fixed asset disposition list. Many of the items were outdated computers that would later be auctioned off.
The board was not able to take action on its lease for Canyon Elementary  School because Los Alamos National Laboratory employees work there. The board did not have a quorom because Dave Foster is an employee at LANL and he had to recuse himself. Other board members Thelma Hahn and Kevin Honnell, also a LANL employee, were not present for the meeting. The next regularly scheduled meeting is May 10.