Citing a failure to catch financial irregularities, including the alleged embezzlement of former accountant Judith Oakes, the Rialto Unified school board has dumped its old auditing firm.
At its Wednesday night meeting, the board voted unanimously to have Glendora-based accounting firm Vicenti, Lloyd and Stutzman perform the district’s annual audit. The firm’s first audit will cover the period from July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2014.
“A lot of things weren’t caught” by the Rancho Cucamonga office of Vavrinek, Trine, Day and Company, board member Edgar Montes said, just prior to the vote.
Representatives of the firm could not be reached for comment.
A series of financial irregularities have come to light in the past six months:
• Former district accountant Judith Oakes is accused of stealing $1.8 million in lunch money from the district’s Nutrition Services Department over the past eight years.
• A Jan. 6 Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team review of the district’s contract and purchasing processes found that “the highest level of administration” did not follow proper purchasing procedures and that contracts were sometimes approved by Cebrun or his office without proper oversight.
• A Jan. 14, FCMAT’s review of the district’s special education programs found “a systematic lack of focus on instruction and lack of guidance from the highest level of leadership,” along with more than $1 million in unnecessary expenses.
(FCMAT helps public school districts with their finances. Both reviews were requested of FCMAT in summer 2013, prior to Oakes’ initial arrest in August.)
Vavrinek, Trine, Day and Company handled the district’s audits for more than a decade, according to spokeswoman Syeda Jafri.
The company will still be doing district business, though, specifically handling voter-approved bond measures.
“We have to honor that contract,” Jafri said Thursday.