$756,000 Math Error Found In Westbrook School Department Budget. If Only There Was Some Sort Of School Where Residents Could Go To Learn To Add And Subtract

WESTBROOK – A recent audit report from Roberts, Green and Drolet has shed some light on just what went wrong with Westbrook’s finances, especially in the school department’s 2009, 2010 and 2011 budgets. The report is giving city officials a better grip on the situation than they have ever had before, according to School Superintendent Marc Gousse and City Administrator Jerre Bryant, who laid out the issues in interviews this week. Both said that new measures in place would prevent similar financial problems from occurring again. The report, released this spring, led to an understanding of a $756,000 school department shortfall from fiscal year 2010, which passed over to 2011, and later 2012, as a debt before the City Council, through approving the 2012-2013 budget this year, offered to pay off the deficit with money from the city’s fund balance. Signs of disarray in the city’s bookkeeping first became public in 2010, when the city rejected the 2009 audit from the South Portland accounting firm of Runyon Kersteen Ouellette. That firm, city officials said, conducted annual audits of the city’s finances for years. It did not find any problems with the finances for the fiscal year 2009, but a follow-up audit, conducted by Roberts, Green and Drolet, of Barnstead, N.H., found a number of what city officials have in the past referred to as “red flags.” (read more at KeepMeCurrent)