APS looks out for misuse of money through activity fund audits

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Over the years, Albuquerque Public Schools activity funds have been misused and abused, so APS is cracking down, hoping to make sure the money is spent in the way it was intended.

“This is a serious issue that the district needs to tackle,” said former APS School Board member Kathy Korte back in 2014.

At the time, she was baffled by what auditors found in 86 school activity fund audits. They found the student body at Albuquerque High School footed an almost $20,000 bill for 11 students and chaperones to go to Barack Obama’s second presidential inauguration.

Auditors also determined the cheer coach at Rio Grande High School spent over $32,000 for uniforms in just 13 months. The school even had to transfer money to cover the bills.

Then in 2016, North Star Elementary School was investigated for PTA money set aside for a shade structure that was used for other expenses.

Parents were understandably upset.

“I’m against that, we do need the funds put into the right things,” said parent Rebecca Davenport.

Now, the school board is reviewing 98 new activity fund audits and one activity fund investigation. APS says that while auditors were at a school they noticed something that didn’t seem right, so they opened an investigation.

Details about the investigation won’t be made public until later this week.

In a phone interview with KRQE News 13, the school board vice president said the district has seen resistance from some schools that don’t want the district overseeing their activity funds. Still, he said they’ve been working hard to make sure schools are following the rules.

“I know APS needs a lot more work, but I’m glad they’re checking into it, that makes me happy,” said Davenport.

APS says each school is audited once a year, but additional audits are done when there is something of concern, or if the bookkeeper at a school has changed.

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