West Bonner forensic audit finds no improprieties

West Bonner school district’s long-awaited forensic audit found no financial misconduct issues.

“We have not seen a pattern or activity that may be indicative of financial improprieties,” said Brandon Waldren, an Eide Bailly senior manager in fraud and forensics. He specializes in school district and higher education audits.

The district’s previous board approved the audit in July 2023 on the advice of former school leader Branden Durst, who resigned in September and later filed a notice that he intends to sue two education agencies for $1.25 million.

The forensic audit created havoc with the school board. Some in the community accused the district of mishandling money and asked for the audit as a precondition for approving future bonds or levies at the polls.

“I think everybody can take a deep breath. The forensic audit came back and I quote, ‘No pattern of any financial improprieties,” said trustee Paul Turco.

Turco’s comment drew loud applause during the board meeting last week.

Eide Bailly analyzed five years, from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2023. They examined more than $21 million worth of financial records: bank statements, credit card statements, general ledger accounts and supporting documentation for disbursements.

Trustees passed a motion to review the draft audit report and send questions back to the board clerk by April 8. Eide Bailly will address those questions before the next meeting. Approval of the draft report is expected to occur at the board’s regular meeting on April 17.

Darren Svan

Darren Svan

Reporter Darren Svan has a background in both journalism and education. Prior to working for military schools at overseas installations, he was news editor at several publications in Wyoming and Colorado. You can send news tips to [email protected].

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