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Audit faults Seattle school district

SEATTLE – The state auditor’s office on Tuesday issued a sharply critical audit of Seattle Public Schools, accusing the district of misappropriating money or leaving public assets “susceptible to misappropriation” because of ineffective policies, failure to enforce its own rules and inadequately trained staff.

District officials said some of the findings have already been resolved, and others are being addressed.

The audit report demands that the school board take a more active role in monitoring the district’s financial controls.

“It is the responsibility of the board to hold executive management accountable for adherence to district policies,” the audit said.

The report notes some issues that have come up in previous audits, including about $334,000 overpaid to employees because of mistakes made during conversion to a new payroll system.

Duggan Harman, the district’s executive director of finance, said more than $71,000 has been repaid, payment plans are in place to recover another $145,000, and the district is working to recover the rest of the money, some of which was paid to people who no longer work for the district.