New shortfall drives Nampa schools total budget woes to more than $9 million

broberts@idahostatesman.comMay 7, 2013 

Just as the Nampa School District was making headway on reducing an $8 million budget problem, the district got hit with another $1.2 million it must pay.

The district spent the $1.2 million on general school operations when it was supposed to go into a debt-service fund to pay bonds between 2004 and 2008, district officials told the Nampa school board Tuesday night.

The revelation comes as the district deals with a $5.1 million deficit and an additional $3 million it hopes to make in cuts to keep from having another deficit in the 2013-2014 school year.

The $1.2 million came to the district, much of it from taxpayers, to be routed to a collection fund before being transferred to the fund to help pay the district’s $130 million bond debt. Instead, the money stayed in the general fund and was spent, district officials said Tuesday.

The money is not missing, school officials said. But it has to be paid back.

District officials blamed inconsistent internal financial controls for part of the problem. Better controls are now in place, said Michelle Yankovich, district financial officer.

Failure to transfer the bond-payment money appears to be “inadvertent negligence,” said Nick Miller, a bond counsel with Hawley Troxell, the law firm that worked with the district on the issue.

Nampa school officials discovered the problem in late November and spent several months checking records back 10 years before reporting it to the board of trustees.

Read more on this story in Wednesday's Statesman.

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