SALT LAKE CITY -- The Office of the State Auditor released audits Thursday of sports and activity programs in four Utah high schools.
Those schools are Fremont in Plain City, Davis in Kaysville, Alta in Sandy and Cottonwood in Murray. The auditors examined the schools' policies and procedures regarding fundraising following problems found at Timpview High School.
"A significant amount of money is handled at schools through fundraising, donations, advertising, sponsorship and booster club activities," according to the summary report by the auditors.
The report goes on to say that, even though they only looked at four schools, the auditors believe they could find similar problems at other high schools in the state.
It recommends that the state Office of Education "develop best practice guidelines, including internal controls, for Utah school districts to incorporate into their policies and procedures related to fundraising, donations, advertising, sponsorships and booster clubs."
Weber School District has taken steps to keep better track of public dollars raised for school activities and sports, officials said.
"We welcomed the audit, and we have implemented the recommendations to have proper procedures for fundraisers," said Nate Taggart, district spokesman.
Meanwhile, Davis School District plans to find or develop software that will record all money paid by individual students, not just a lump sum, said Christopher Williams, Davis district spokesman.
"Overall, I think it's always healthy to have someone from the outside to look and see what is happening."
The state Office of Education, like the local districts, has begun training sessions for those handling money and is working on a new rule concerning funds for school sports and activities.
At Fremont, the auditors found that the amount deposited for one choir program was $1,425 short of what was estimated.
The students had sold 410 50-pound bags of potatoes for $20 each.
"The expected revenue was $8,200; however, only $6,755 was deposited," according to the report.
When the auditors questioned this, the teacher found the "additional $1,100 of undeposited cash and checks in his office that were up to eight months old," but could not explain the $325 difference.
The number of tickets sold for another fundraiser was not tracked, so the auditors were unable to estimate how much the revenue should be.
Taggart said nothing illegal was found, but to address the problems found by the audit, teachers will be better trained.
Weber School District has since adopted a "Secondary Financial Procedure Manual," Taggart said.
The audit also looked at Davis High School and recommended that the district separate duties and put into place better controls or reviews.
One area includes a parent volunteer who helped with the bookkeeping for the band.
"We appreciate the efforts and long hours of that parent volunteer, but it put that person in an awkward position of putting information into our computers, and that should be separate," Williams said.
Williams said the district is taking steps "to move forward."
Because "we don't necessarily know if a student is working a part-time job to raise funds or if a parent pulled the last $10 out of their pocket to pay a fee, all that money is important, and we need to account for that money and be as detailed as possible," he said.
Besides a new software accounting program, the district also will implement a policy that the head secretary will take payments from the students, and the assistant principal will be checking the accounts, Williams said.
Other changes will also be made, he said, including more training for teachers, coaches and staff who handle money that comes into the school.