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Joplin School District Could be Subject of Audit: Petition Drive - KOAM TV 7

Joplin School District Could be Subject of Audit: Petition Drive Underway

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Petition Drive for School District Audit Petition Drive for School District Audit
JOPLIN, MISSOURI - A petition drive is calling for an audit of the Joplin School District.

  And it's something that could cost the district anywhere from $70 to $100-thousand dollars.

Construction crews continue work on the new Joplin High School. It’s among more than $200 million dollars worth of projects for the school district after the tornado. So an audit doesn't surprise district Chief Financial Officer Paul Barr. But he argues, they've been open about finances.

Barr says, “I think we have been.  We've replied to all questions asked of us. We've shared our contracts as they’ve come on board.” He says reports are given at every school board meeting about finances.

Barr says the state auditor told the district in 2012 he would be back to do an audit particularly because of donations of money.

But a petition drive would make that audit happen faster. Missouri Deputy Auditor Harry Otto says, “After a number of qualified signatures are certified by election authorities of a political subdivision, that goes to the top of the list of our things to do.”

TAMKO President and CEO David Humphreys requested the audit because he says, "I felt it appropriate to do so given the large amounts of spending, increased taxes, and concerns I have seen voiced by a number of people about the city and school district." 

Joplin residents we asked about a potential audit initially liked the idea.

Chip Spencer says, “You need to know  where the money’s going and the persons it affects the most, needs to know the most. They have a right to know. Not only a right to know, a responsibility to  know.”

Joplin resident Laura Potts says, “I think an audit isn’t necessarily a bad thing. No matter what circumstances, it  falls under, it can show the strengths or the weaknesses if anything.”

But Laura and others became conflicted when learning that  if the petition succeeds, the district would have to pay the bill. The cost, $70 to $100 thousand dollars.

Potts says, “If there’s good reason the district should pay. But if it’s just arbitrarily someone wanting an audit I don’t think the school should have to pay for it because that takes the money  out of the education for the kids. That’s something we need.  As a parent, I really want a good education for my kids.”

And Barr says paying for the audit  would have an impact.

“If it was 100 thousand dollars, that would be the equivalent of two master teachers for one year.”

2,195 signatures are needed.

 There's a petition at MMillenniumtennis and fitness club.

 A  door-to-door campaign begins tomorrow.

 Humphreys is also seeking an audit of the city of Joplin for similar reasons.

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