Preventing Fraud in Your Schools

By Naomi Dillon

A certified public accountant in Tulsa, Okla., Jay Jenkins had built a solid business working with area school districts, annually reviewing their financial records, casting an opinion on their veracity, and making recommendations on how to improve processes.

It was steady and predictable work. That is, until 2008, when Skiatook Public Schools retained Jenkins’ services, setting off a chain of events no one could have predicted -- although there were signs from the beginning that things might not be as they seemed.

Months into his review, Jenkins would unearth a series of unsettling financial findings that would ultimately topple the head of the school system, incite a public outcry, and lead to several indictments.

“This was definitely the biggest thing I ever discovered,” Jenkins says.

Unfortunately, such incidents are not rare -- mismanagement, waste, and outright fraud have been on the rise within school districts across the country in the last several years. 

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