The Audit of Williston Basin School District 1 has come to a close, and findings were made available prior to the February 6 school board meeting.

Thanks to an invitation from Community C.A.R.E.S., KEYZ was able to sit in on an advanced presentation from State Auditor Josh Gallion and his team that went through the 21 issues that presented themselves during the process. Here are some of the standouts, and you can watch the full meeting below.

  • State auditors discovered that 6.2 million dollars in debt was never recorded.
  • 14 out of the 65 expenditures did not have proper documentation. However, during the audit process WBSD7 was able to contact vendors to find an additional 11 pieces of documentation.
  • Over $500,000 of expenditures were found that did not have board approval
  • Tax Receipts were not allocated properly months after they were received.
  • School district could not provide a budget in accordance with state law when presenting budgets for mil levies.
  • The district was found to not have a proper segregation of duties, especially when it came to the responsibilities of the business manager.
  • The district Business manager submitted school district financial reports to the Department of Public Construction that did not agree with underlying financial reports.
  • Federal Coronavirus Emergency Relief Funds (ESSER) funds were found lacking to have internal controls. Also ESSER funds used for payroll were not documented.
  • The records are so poor that the audit team could not determine if the school district is in any jeopardy of not being able to meet all of its financial obligations.

Overall the audit found Systemic problems in financial records, lack of internal control, and a lacking of a segregation of duties for the business manager at School District 1 were found to be pervasive, but with few if any of the actors who had a hand in the situation developing, there is little culpability to be laid at the feet of any individual.

The school board for District 7, which submitted an action plan to rectify all of the former District 1's shortfalls, now hold oversight to make sure that all 21 issues are being handled in a timely fashion in accordance with the district's plan.

Largest audit that the local audit team has ever done, with the most finding. This audit took over 1000 hours of man power and cost over $100,000.  Many different areas of this audit will also be used for the fiscal year 2022 audit, to see if there are any additional issues.

The State Auditors Office does have the ability to refer the case to the North Dakota Attorney General, but at this time they will be declining due to lack of evidence of any fraud taking place. However, community member's may still petition the AG to take up the case for any actionable items on the list.

State auditors will also be verbally presenting the audit and its findings at the regular District 7 school board meeting scheduled for February 6. This meeting is scheduled to begin at 5:30 PM and will be held at the Williston Community Library.


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