Auditor Galloway releases DESE-requested audit of Valley R-VI School District, located in Iron and Washington counties

Audit was requested based on concerns over attendance rates reported by the district

State Auditor Nicole Galloway announced her office has released an audit of Valley R-VI School District, located in Iron and Washington counties in east-central Missouri. The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) requested the audit based on concerns of attendance rates reported by the district.

In July 2019, DESE officials requested the audit from the Auditor's Office after parents of district students contacted DESE about a letter they received from the district superintendent. The letter encouraged students not to attend school on April 19, 2019 because the district needed to have an average daily attendance of 350 or less in order to maintain small school status. The letter added there might be additional days on which attendance would be discouraged in order to maintain the status, which allows the district to receive additional state funding.

The audit found that student attendance decreased significantly from April 19 through the remainder of the school year, from a daily average of almost 94% to 85%, but that auditors did not identify any manipulation of attendance data reported to the DESE. The lower attendance kept the district's average daily attendance at 349 for the 2018-2019 school year. In the response to the audit, the district Board of Education and superintendent said they regretted sending the letter and agreed to refrain from practices that would encourage student absenteeism.

The audit also discussed how the district's attendance procedures needed improvement to reduce the possibility of erroneous attendance data being sent to the DESE, and the superintendent had more access in the attendance system than required for his job duties. The Board of Education and superintendent agreed with making the changes recommended in the audit to address those concerns.

A copy of the audit can be found here.