Just how incompetent was the accounting that Secretary of Education Melody Schopp let continue at Mid-Central Educational Cooperative with no firmer response than “technical support”?
Possibly incompetent to the tune of two million dollars:
A Platte-based educational cooperative thrust into the spotlight after authorities said its business manager killed his wife and kids, set the family home ablaze and killed himself has filed a $2 million claim against the man’s estate.
Mid-Central Educational Cooperative officials filed the claim this month, saying there’s a reasonable probability that Scott Westerhuis may have improperly misappropriated funds from the co-op [“Educational Co-Op Files $2M Claim Against Former Manager,” AP via KSFY-TV, 2016.02.18].
Nice to see Mid-Central took my advice on behalf of the taxpayers.
Hmmm… Westerhuis burned up his expensive house; the big gym/office complex that survived his arson is valued at $900,000… how much more estate did Westerhuis leave against which Mid-Central might file this two-million-dollar claim? Westerhuis didn’t have his name on some land out in the Hills, did he?
Recall that, from June 2011 through March 2014, Mid-Central financial reports show month-to-month discrepancies from ending balance to beginning balance totaling $3.44 million. Is $2 million just the portion Mid-Central thinks it might reclaim from the ashes of Westerhuis’s folly… or will Mid-Central drop another seven-figure shoe on another GEAR UP player?
The state continues to restore its favor with Mid-Central. After handing Mid-Central a $4,200 contract in January to fiddle with some curriculum standards, the Department of Education has apparently added $32,823 to Mid-Central’s contract to run the Indian Education Summit (see the February 11, 2016, minutes).
Mid-Central ended January with more cash in the bank: it climbed from its record low $43K ending balance in December to $131K at the end of January. Mid-Central actually would have been broke had it not been for one important January receipt:
Four months after finally losing the multi-million-dollar GEAR UP contract, Mid-Central reports receiving $158,638 in GEAR UP money. Mid-Central wrote checks to GE Capital for a $355.12 GEAR UP copier lease, to the SDDOE for a $719.20 GEAR UP reimbursement, and to Seaton Publishing Company, owner of the Black Hills Pioneer, $28,044 for GEAR UP planner printing.