Jul 29, 2014

Riverwood Audit Shows Several Areas of Concern

On Tuesday, Fulton County Schools said no crime was committed.

Riverwood Audit Shows Several Areas of Concern

The audit report of Riverwood High School, which led to the shows several areas of concern.

On Tuesday, Samantha Evans, executive director of Communications for Fulton County Schools told Patch that there was no embezzlement, and no criminal charges were being brought against Echols. 

“Embezzlement would imply a financial loss to the school,” she said. “There was no financial loss to the school.”

The period in question from the audit is June 2008 to July 2009.

The report said Echols used a school American Express Card for personal use and later reimbursed the school, at least in part. The auditor could not be certain because a detailed list of the reimbursed items was not provided by Echols.

According to the report, bookkeeping revealed expenditures in the Principal Expense Account that exceeded the limit by $6,185.35. It was recorded in a way that the account appeared to be over the limit by $86.31.

The report showed delays of up to nine days in the recording of gate receipts for athletic events. Receipts were recorded by the bookkeeper in the school’s receipt book after deposits appeared on bank statements.

The auditor found that four receipts for football totaling $19,618 were not recorded properly on the next day, as required by regulations.

For basketball, gate receipts totaling $3,318 were not recorded properly on the next business day.

The auditor wrote, “These deficiencies render assets more susceptible to loss or fraud.”

When it came to school donations, no documents were obtained confirming the purpose of the funds received. At least $38,110 was received through nine donations, in which it could not be verified if the funds were used according to donors' wishes.

The report found seven Student Activity Fund accounts with negative balances totaling $4,896, as of June 2009. The auditor did not say the balances were inaccurate.

He wrote, “The principal should not approve purchase requisitions or write checks from SAF accounts unless there are sufficient funds to prevent SAF accounts from resulting in a negative account balance.”

On Tuesday, Evans added, “At this point there has been no indication that there [was] any financial loss to the school. This is more about not following board policy. Not following policy of how funds should be used.”

Dennis Kostulakos will serve as interim principal at Riverwood. 

Echols had been the school principal since 2002 and was hired by Fulton County Schools in 1987, as a math teacher at Roswell High School.

Last week, it was announced that are among the highest in Georgia.

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