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Published on February 01, 2024
Audit Uncovers Failure to Drug Test Bus Drivers, Financial Lapses in Globe Unified School DistrictSource: Unsplash/Megan Lee

An audit of the Globe Unified School District in rural Arizona has raised red flags over the absence of random drug testing for school bus drivers and a series of financial oversights that leave room for the potential misuse of district funds. In a 2024 report by an independent contractor, endorsed by the Auditor General, findings disclosed that the school district failed to randomly drug and alcohol test its bus drivers in 2021 and only partially complied in 2022, with just two of nine drivers subjected to tests, according to azfamily.com. The district reportedly was not aware that these tests were not being adequately carried out.

The audit further indicated that Globe Unified School District did not properly handle district finances, lacking adequate safeguards to securely manage the public's money. This has consequently increased the risk of public money being squandered and the district becoming susceptible to fraud. It was also revealed that district staff seem to not always adhere to the procedures outlined by the district's own governing board, with informal practices falling short of the standards prescribed by the Uniform System of Financial Records for Arizona School Districts. As listing examples of financial mismanagement, auditors pointed out irregularities in 10 of 830 purchase orders and 40 of 6,100 expenditures from the 2022 fiscal year.

The situation with district-issued credit cards appears to be just as concerning. Nearly one in five district employees were granted access to use credit cards, with a total of at least 49 cards in circulation without accurate tracking of their whereabouts. The district does not maintain a formal list of these cards, allowing any employee who has signed a card user agreement to freely use them. One staff member, as reported by Gyricaymed News, made a $279.31 purchase without providing an itemized receipt, which goes against district policy. In another instance, personnel purchased gift cards that were unprescribed by the approved purchase order but claimed they were covered by donations.

Cash handling within the district further demonstrates a lack of control and adherence to policy, with the report underscoring instances where cash wasn't securely stored overnight in a safe as mandatory by policy. Moreover, the district sometimes has failed to deposit cash daily or even on a weekly basis. According to the Auditor General, the audit found that a lone employee was in charge of both cash handling and bookkeeping for the food service bank account, a direct violation of district policies aimed at preventing fraud and ensuring financial integrity.

In response to the findings, Globe Unified School District Superintendent Jerry Jennex pledged in a statement obtained by azfamily.com that the district is in agreement with the audit results and committed to implementing the recommended changes to improve its procedures and policies.