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MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa —  The Marshalltown Community School District says a new report from the State Auditor’s Office confirms some disturbing findings the district had uncovered over the summer.  The special investigation was launched due to concerns school district officials identified with certain disbursements issued by former payroll specialist, Allison Meyer.

Dr. Theron Schutte, Superintendent of Schools for Marshalltown Community School District, blames the irregularities on incompetence.

“I think gross incompetence, gross negligence, and an unwillingness to be upfront about it when confronted with the concerns and situation,” said Dr. Schutte.

Dr. Schutte also says the district didn’t have the proper checks and balances in place to recognize the problem sooner than it did.

“I think first and foremost that, we had someone in a position for which they didn’t have the knowledge and skills and training and disposition to perform that function at a high level,” said Dr. Schutte. “And, I think secondly, we obviously didn’t have the appropriate segregation of duties and oversight happening within our administrative team, within the financial office in order to head that off.”

The special investigation of the school district is for the period of November 28, 2016 through June 15, 2018.

It identified more than $645,000 of improper disbursements and undeposited collections.

“Our new finance director and former business manager realized things weren’t quite matching up or adding up,” said Dr. Schutte. “And, so that led to looking further into things, which resulted primarily in finding that we had not been fulfilling our responsibilities, in terms of paying in a timely fashion, the payroll taxes.”

The improper disbursements identified includes more than $616,000 of penalties and interest to the Internal Revenue Service, Iowa Workforce Development, Iowa Department of Revenue and IPERS.

DES MOINES, Iowa — A strong economy and a low unemployment rate have the revenue estimating conference projecting a 4.7% increase in revenue for fiscal year 2019. That would be an additional 362 million dollars for Governor Reynolds to work with.

However, the REC is only predicting a 1.7% increase from 2019 to 2020. REC Chairman David Roederer says it may be wise to keep some of the 2019 money in the bank.

“Giving a 4% increase one year and a 1% the next year, it’s much better to level it off to a 2% or 2.5%, then you have more predictability in some of the areas” said Roederer.

The conservative forecast for 2020 is sparked by several issues including farmers feeling the full impact of trade wars with China, stock market volatility, and federal interest rate hikes; not to mention other issues around the globe.

“Not sure where to start here, Brexit impact on Europe, the Chinese economy, declining oil prices” said member Holly Lyons.

Chairman Roederer says to keep in mind that these numbers are projections.

“It’s an inexact science especially when you’re doing it quite a bit ahead, because you never know for sure how various taxpayers are going to file their taxes; the same way with the corporate side. Obviously, with the online sales we’re not exactly sure how much will be coming in there, but we believe we’re going to have a healthy enough balance” he said.

With that balance, he says the state will be able to keep its financial promises.

“There will never be enough money to fully fund everything that everyone comes in the door wanting, that won’t happen. We believe there will be enough funding to do the essentials that government is supposed to do and the commitments that have been made” said Roederer.

Roderer does not expect there to be an emergency budget cut session for fiscal year 2019 like there have been in years past.