State auditor issues finding against DECA charter school chain

The state auditor’s office on Tuesday said the DECA charter school chain in Dayton mixed payments from two of its schools, resulting in a $4,448 finding for recovery of improperly spent money.

The small new finding is unrelated to a serious theft case spelled out in the schools’ previous audits, and has already been repaid.

PREVIOUS: State audit wraps up theft case by DECA employee

The auditor’s office said DECA Prep, the chain’s elementary school, paid the audit fees for both its own audit and the audit of Dayton Early College Academy (DECA), the group’s high school. The audit said there was no indication that DECA was reimbursed.

“Policies and procedures should be established and implemented to verify that finances of the two schools are kept separate,” the auditor’s finding said. “Failure to do so could result in one school paying for the other school’s goods and services and may lead to additional finding for recoveries in the future audits.”

Once the issue was raised by the auditor, DECA transferred the $4,448 repayment to DECA Prep in March, according to the audit documents.

2016 STORY: DECA using grant to expand elementary school

The school, in its response, said, “Going forward, procedures will be implemented to verify invoices for each of the two school entities.”

The audit also included a finding of material weakness for some financial statement errors —exclusion of one Title 1 grant, improper reporting of some capital assets and funds, and an understatement of some accounts payable.

Regarding previous audits’ finding of $44,725 in theft by a former DECA employee, the state said in the new audit said that corrective action had been taken and the “finding is fully corrected.”

RELATED: Ex-DECA employee convicted of felony theft

In that case, Cynthia Shoemaker, the former assistant to the schools’ treasurer, made improper credit card purchases between January 2010 and February 2017. Shoemaker was fired and eventually convicted of fourth-degree felony theft.

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