New information is coming out about financial issues at the Western Heights School District during ousted superintendent Mannix Barnes’ tenure in 2020 and 2021.
News 9 obtained an annual audit addressed to the school board on May 31.
Auditors found 19 problems with financial controls they call “significant deficiencies” during the 2020-to-2021-time frame.
These issues stem from the time Mannix Barnes was superintendent before the State Board of Education district takeover in summer 2021.
At a November court hearing, Barnes testified that he knew about financial control issues at Western Heights when he became superintendent in July 2019 – but chose not to correct them.
This is from the transcript:
Judge Aletia Timmons went back and forth with Barnes about his lack of action, saying:
THE COURT: So, you just let the mistakes continue for a whole 'nother year?
THE WITNESS: No, that's not what I'm saying.
THE COURT: Well, that's what the report says.
THE WITNESS: No.
THE COURT: That's what you just testified to..., you didn't want to change anything and you were just going to let it continue…despite the fact that you got an audit that says you've got basic accounting errors in the way that money is being spent in this school District.”
The 2020 to 2021 audit found non-compliant federal spending, lack of internal controls on purchase orders, issues with bank reconciliations, and a $25,000 bonus paid to Barnes without the approval of the board.
But two board members tell News 9 they have not seen the audit yet, even though it was signed by the auditor and addressed to the board two weeks ago.
Board member Darrin Dunkin says he requested a copy of the audit but was told it was not ready yet.
Attorney for both Barnes and The Western Heights Board, Jerry Colclazier, said in a statement today that the auditor's report is only "half the story." Colclazier told me Western Heights is preparing their response before submitting it to the State Department of Education as required.
Barnes’ revocation hearing is now scheduled for July 25.