News Story

Amid Ongoing Mismanagement, Flint Schools Get $51,000 Per Student From Feds

District pins (latest) audit problems on staff turnover

Flint Community Schools is scheduled to receive $160 million in federal COVID-19 relief money. This $51,215 per-pupil injection of federal money is by far the most received by any school district in the state.

But an audit of the district’s latest annual financial report extends an ongoing record of financial mismanagement that should raise red flags about its capacity to responsibly manage the federal COVID money.

The district’s most recent comprehensive annual financial report, or CAFR, covers the fiscal year ending in June 2021.

As in previous years, auditor’s notes on the CAFR expose some persistent problems:

Several account balances in the school district’s accounts and records were improperly recorded according to its accounting firm.

The budgeting mistakes that were caused by “unplanned vacancies and turnover in the business office” were “fixed by management,” the report explains.

The corrections made during the audit “impacted expenditures, revenue, assets, and liabilities within the School District’s governmental funds and government-wide financial statements and also impacted the schedule of expenditures of federal awards.”

“The School District did not have sufficient resources available to adequately review and adjust account balances or to proper account reconciliations and schedules during the closing process. As a result, several account balances were not independently reviewed and adjusted prior to the commencement of audit procedures. In addition, the schedule of expenditures of federal awards was not prepared or reconciled to the accounting records.”

When asked about the issues, an official replied in a written response:

“At Flint Community Schools, we are committed to transparency and working alongside our community to determine the best use of funds.”

“The district recently hired a new accountant who started December 2021. This accountant is working closely with the district’s finance team—reviewing past expenditures from the beginning of the school year in July and filling in gaps that resulted from unplanned vacancies during the COVID-19 pandemic—and working directly with federal, state and local programs for all grants and budgeting expenditures. We invite community members interested in collaborating with the district to help determine the use of ESSER III funds to visit for a schedule of community forum meetings, which run through mid-December.”

The term “ESSER III fund” refers to one of the large amounts of federal dollars the district is receiving.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.