Belen Schools hire financial consultant for old audits

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Belen Consolidated Schools hired a school financial consultant to assist in preparing the district's 2011-12 audit.

The district made this move after receiving a strong recommendation from the New Mexico Public Education Department to do so.

"Actually, when it was presented to us, it seemed like it was more than a recommendation," said Board of Education President Sam Chavez at a Sept. 25 board meeting. "It was pretty much a mandate that we hire a consultant."

The PED budget analyst, assigned to the district, recommended hiring a consultant upon reviewing the 2009-10 and 2010-11 audits. Those audits, which were submitted after the audit deadline, resulted in the district being mandated to submit monthly financial reports instead of quarterly reports to NMPED, beginning in March 2011.

The district fell behind in submitting financial reports during an administrative change of the superintendent and business and finance director and switching to a new accounting software.

The delinquent audits were the topic of discussion earlier this year after PED rejected the district's 2012-13 total budget containing a 1 percent employee salary increase.

The budget, which was approved in July after removal of the salary increase, was rejected since the state couldn't confirm the district's cash carry over, and therefore overall budget, without the delinquent audits.

School financial consultant D'resse Sutherland will work on the audit three days a week for the next month with Director of Business and Finance George Perea.

Southerland, who was recommended by PED, aided Farmington Public Schools in pulling them out of a similar situation, Chavez said.

"We don't want to have another disclaimer audit," Chavez said.

The audit must be submitted to PED by Thursday, Nov. 15.


-- Email the author at aortiz@news-bulletin.com.