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Joplin School District invites parents to ask questions about au - KOAM TV 7

Joplin School District invites parents to ask questions about audit

Updated:
The Joplin School District is asking parents to come out to an open house tonight for questions, following the report of a state audit yesterday.  This open house will start at 6 PM inside the Joplin High School cafeteria.  

One of the questions many parents wants answered:  Why was so much money spent by the district?

Some Joplin residents are still skeptical of the Joplin School District's performance.

"You gotta cut it off somewhere," says Jerry Hamilton.  "You gotta live within your budget.  Same as I do, same as you do."

School district officials say they are still operating within their budgets.  But Missouri's state auditor called attention to how quickly budgeted money is being spent.  Superintendent C.J. Huff says the district's financial situation could be better.

"There are things within our control, and there are things outside of our control," says Huff.

The audit showed the district's general revenue fund in 2011, before the Joplin tornado at about $16 million.  That number is expected to dip to $4.6 million in June of next year.  Huff says rebuilding tornado-damaged schools took a large portion of money, and there's even more money to be spent.  The future spending is already accounted for in the audit report.

"We still have some remediation costs.  For example, the Northpark mall location.  We're responsible for 15 percent of the demolition of that particular site now," says Huff.

Northpark Mall was Joplin's temporary high school.

Huff says the district's general revenue fund needs to be back up to $16 million.

"General business practice dictates that you should have three months in operating reserves to be healthy and be able to respond to short-term emergency situations," says Huff.

District officials say they'll start looking at ways to build up that fund next year.  In the meantime, there's a warning from some residents.

"Until they found out they can't keep going back to the taxpayer and the public for money, they will keep doing that," says Hamilton.


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