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Lee’s Summit district earns ‘good’ audit, but with some issues

Updated: 2014-02-04T00:02:11Z

By JOE ROBERTSON

The Kansas City Star

The Lee’s Summit School District needs to bid out more of its purchases and monitor more contracts, but overall earned a “good” review from the state auditor Monday.

The report concludes that the district is “well-managed” though there are some concerns — some of which the district reported it is already addressing.

No particular issues prompted the audit. Since 2009 state law has given the Missouri auditor the authority to review public school districts without a petition.

Lee’s Summit is the second area district to receive an unpetitioned audit, following Kansas City Public Schools, which was given an overall “fair” rating in 2011 as the first district in the state to be audited under the new law.

Hickman Mills is currently under review and will receive a report later this year.

Among the concerns Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich noted in Lee’s Summit was that some purchases were not competitively bid, including $29,172 in travel services and $21,866 for technology installation. And some longstanding agreements with some providers have not periodically been put up for new bids.

Large changes in some construction projects were not put up for bid, including a $60,616 order for removing and replacing carpet that was not part of the vendor’s original proposal.

The district has not adequately monitored transactions on district-issued purchasing cards. The district also did not adequately monitor contract payments, the auditor found. One contractor overcharged the district $4,095, though the money has since been reimbursed.

The auditor also saw no benefit in the $25,000 membership fee the district pays to the Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council when the council’s website says maximum benefits are available for $10,000.

Some partnerships, such as the district’s collaboration with the Lee’s Summit Educational Foundation, do not have adequate written agreements.

The district paid $775,000 in December 2012 to secure land for a fourth middle school, but it did not obtain an independent appraisal to help better assure the district was paying fair market value, the auditor found.

In its replies to the auditor’s findings, the district acknowledged most of the findings and agreed that staff need to secure more bids or more documentation supporting purchases or agreements. It also will review some policies and processes.

District staff have been working with the auditor’s staff for several months, district spokeswoman Janice Phelan said in a statement.

“The district worked closely with the auditors throughout the process and welcomed the review and the opportunity to receive feedback from the state,” she said.

To reach Joe Robertson, call 816-234-4789 or send email to jrobertson@kcstar.com.

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