Concerns about Montgomery Co. school finances aren’t new

WASHINGTON – The investigation into possible misuse of student funds at a Montgomery County school continues, but concerns about the financial dealings at Rock Terrace Elementary School apparently aren’t new.

A memo dated November 2, 2011, shows that Roger Pisha, the Internal Audit Supervisor for Montgomery County Public Schools, advised principal Dianne Thornton that “financial records must be kept up to date at all times. Delay in recording transactions significantly increases the likelihood of error, loss of information, and loss of funds.”

In the memo, Pisha notes that a former financial specialist at the school still had authorization to write checks on the school’s account.

The audit covering the period from August 2008 to September 2011 also found:

  • Payments for gift cards were found, but there was no record of the recipients.
  • A PlayStation, a Nintendo 3DS, and nine iPod Shuffles were paid for with school funds, but there was no record of who received them.
  • A form used to reconcile ticket sales for the prom or the SGA dance wasn’t prepared for FY 2010.
  • The school collected money from more students than invoiced by MCPS for Outdoor Education.
  • An advance was given to the sponsor of the senior trip with all expenditures documented, except for cash given to chaperones in the amount of $410. The memo went on to say, “All expenditures from an advance need to be documented with receipts or invoices and any remainder returned to the school.”

The memo ends with a statement: “Other matters were discussed and satisfactorily resolved.”

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