Rockwood State Audit: Overall Performance is Rated "Fair"

LIVE FROM PRESENTATION: Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich reveals what his team of investigators identified in a full audit of St. Louis County's largest school district.

The first state audit of the Rockwood School District since 1994 rated the district "fair" on a scale that ranged from excellent, to good, to fair and finally, to poor. Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich presented the results to the district at 5:30 p.m. today at Lafayette High School Theater in Wildwood.

Prior to the official presentation, Rockwood Superintendent Bruce Borchers told Patch the audit points to some issues that span the past decade.

"Given the size of our district, there is always room for improvements. We care about our students, and I will continue to make the best decisions I can for those 22,000 students," said Borchers.

Patch was at the meeting and will provide ongoing coverage before and after Schwiech's presentation. Please return frequently for updates, and to add reactions or questions in the comments' section of this article. We will have a full update later with details from the audit.

Borchers said the district's staff will continue to put the needs of students foremost, especially as they pursue new processes.

Rockwood Board of Education President Janet Strate said it's key to learn from mistakes. She said she anticipates that most of the items spotlighted in the audit will be taken care of in the next several two to three months.

The audit was divided into nine components:

  • program management services, change orders and conflict of interest
  • bond financing
  • procurement cards
  • procurement procedures
  • receipting procedures
  • capital assets and fuel usage
  • superintendent's contract
  • attendance reporting controls
  • computer controls

A PDF copy of the 28-page audit report is attached to this article.

The audit presentation event concluded at 6:09 p.m.

Click here for a link to Rockwood's response regarding how they will respond to the audit's recommendations.

Read previous Patch coverage from earlier this week:

Rockwood State Audit Results to be Revealed Wednesday

Rockwood's Superintendent Contract Extended Just as State Audit Results Are Expected

Rockwood Stakeholders for Real Solutions February 28, 2013 at 04:31 AM
Michael: We strongly suggest taking a closer look at the audit report, especially the district's response. There is more in there that Steve Smith and Glenn Construction. http://www.auditor.mo.gov/Press/2013-018.pdf "Approximately 19 percent of full-time and part-time faculty and staff had district-issued procurement cards as of June 2012. Each procurement card is an official VISA credit card which is designed to provide a more convenient procurement method than the purchase order system. Most procurement cards have individual transaction limits under $1,000 and a monthly spending limit ranging from $2,000 to $6,000; however, there are cards with monthly credit limits ranging from $10,000 to $1.5 million. During the year ended June 30, 2012, procurement card purchases totaled approximately $4.5 million".
Michael Rhodes February 28, 2013 at 12:33 PM
I read the complete report and the district responses. I tend to agree that Mr. Smith should be allowed to be on the board and I think he should have not voted on any items related to items being worked by Glenn Const. I also understand the district verified, twice, that he could vote on those items. I agree perception still looks bad. When I did auditing we could not ding a report based on perception we had to state factual data. Would be like the IRS coming to your home and saying; "Wow, you have a nice home. My perception is you make more than your income statement reads so you need to pay more taxes". Perception is important, but should not be in an audit. I guess this was a compliance review as opposed to an actual audit?
Julie Brown Patton (Editor) February 28, 2013 at 12:50 PM
Michael, the state auditing team seemed to allude to this report more as a "performance audit." In your experience, does that seem accurate? How many types of audit reviews are there?
David Miller February 28, 2013 at 01:40 PM
Dr. Borchers is "happy" with a "Fair" rating? As a taxpayer and parent of two Rockwood students -- I'm not! Very disappointed with the poor management by the District as revealed by the audit.
Michael Rhodes February 28, 2013 at 02:18 PM
Probably more audit types than I can can think of. I have been involved in compliance and financial (think IRS, but not with the IRS) audit reviews. I would think a compliance audit is similar to a performance audit. In a compliance audit we reviewed that all federal, state, and local laws, tariffs, and regulations were followed and that internal controls were documented and followed. As an example during an audit a department of the company I worked for stated in their process docs that vendor contracts(expense) were stored in red folders while client contracts(revenue) in blue folders. That department had stopped doing that and had started filing them in seperate cabinets. Since the process doc did not support the actual process they were dinged on their audit (we did not rate them over all. It was simple pass/fail). It was an easy fix to the process doc to get back in compliance. This audit seems like a mix of Process Audit and Performance Audit although they did not seem to dig very deep on the performance side. As an example the overpayment of $1.2m that might not be an overpayment. That should have been reviewed further and confirmed if there was or was not overpayment and how much was overpaid. These state audits are so different than a typical audit that I am expierenced in. As I stated above I have never been involved in an audit that states opinion or perception as the reason for failing the audit. We always pointed to something tangible(broken law etc).
Julie Brown Patton (Editor) February 28, 2013 at 02:22 PM
Thanks for the additional insight, Michael. We'll all have to study the audit to truly understand the nuances.
Marty February 28, 2013 at 02:41 PM
Sorry. Althought I'm sure the "Rockwood Stakeholders" group is happy, I don't see this as quite the extreme "triumph" they are alleging it to be. Over a decade, a 1.2 million error. That's about $100K per year. The District has a $250+ million budget per year. I realize I'm not a numbers guy, but that's pretty good in my opinion. As far as the other issues (hiring friends, Smith on Board, etc.), that deserves more attention. They appear to be fixing those issues. I am still very proud to be a Rockwood resident, graduate, and have my children educated here.
Michael Rhodes February 28, 2013 at 02:50 PM
Marty: I have read the full report and really need to go through it again. Based on the one time read I agree with you. The possible $1.2m is a concern that may not be. Have to read the other issues more closely. I do agree with RS for RS that there is process tightening that needs to occur and appears to be occuring. Of course this is the same group that claimed $.86 of every dollar went to support services and then when question on it by West County magazine restated it to $.46 of every dollar went to support services. An $88m per year potential error on their part. Another point is that rating is for only the areas they reviewed and is not a reflection of the district as a whole. I am not a Rockwood graduate myself. I am proud and pleased with the education my child as received so far and hope it continues to be top notch for my second child that will be starting next year.
Rockwood Stakeholders for Real Solutions February 28, 2013 at 03:00 PM
Marty Over 4 bond issues, not a decade. 2010, 2008, 2006, 2004. The Auditor's Staff only looked through the last 4 bond issues and found the 1.2 mil. Please, read the report. RS for RS is not "triumph", we are validated. This is what we had been saying for the last 18 months. It is a sad and embarrassing day in our community.
DMV February 28, 2013 at 03:06 PM
I expect a lot from my kids in their ability to perform in class and in their grades. But I believe as an adults we should be setting the bar...we should lead by example. It is extremely disappointing that the adults that are suppose to be helping our district have not even perfomed above average from these audit findings. Adults are suppose to be the role models; not the other way around. In my opinion this is equivalent to receiving a D or F in a class and unacceptable. And if this were the results from an athletes performance during a try-out you'd be cut from the team. KUDOS to RS for RS because if it wasn't for them, this audit would NOT have been done. Our district needs to be more accountable and work as hard as our students and athletes are expected--with honesty, integrity, perseverance, and giving more than 100%. I expect nothing less from my children.
Caffeinated February 28, 2013 at 03:13 PM
I agree with DMV, and I think thanks is due to RS for RS for being an impetus for this audit. Emprically speaking, the results can't be characterized as satisfactory and the specific audit findings regarding Smith have been exposed and warned against by the members of RS for RS for some time. I think any effort at community engagement is a good thing, and I believe RS for RS is an earnest effort to hold the Board and Superintendent accountable. This will only strengthen Rockwood.
David Miller February 28, 2013 at 03:32 PM
Even the Rockwood NEA President is embarrassed by the audit results.
Robert George February 28, 2013 at 04:10 PM
It is a sad day in Rockwood when the Board recieved the audit information then proceeding to give the Superintendent 3 more years and a life insurance policy of $500,000. The great work of the district's teachers is being overshadowed by the lack of leadership at the top. Sadly, the needs for security, technology and infrastructure work in the Bond Issue will suffer because of a lack of leadership. It is time for a change of district leadership - we will not see public confidence return until there is new leadership.
DMV February 28, 2013 at 05:04 PM
Our teachers who have or are in jeopardy of losing their jobs or positions due to this lack of leadership have already suffered along with our students who have larger class sizes and classes no longer being offered as they were. What is really a "need" though or a "want" in response to Francis' comment? Technology itself does not promote an excellent student especially when a class is no longer being offered for them to take. I'd rather see the students keeping teachers and classes than new computers and the district work with what they have. Spending over 9 million dollars on technology will not improve the students' grades or intellect....I know of a student who received a perfect ACT score and she grew up without a television in her home....she read.....let's keep our "needs" and "wants" straight. I'd rather the district make do with computers that are 4-5 years old instead of replacing them spending $9+ million (Prop S) and eliminating classes and teachers. This is not a true "need" like the locker rooms in my opinion.
Marty February 28, 2013 at 06:12 PM
I did read the full report. I agree that RS for RS did a valuable thing in pushing for an audit but those four bond issues were SPENT over the past decade (or 9 years). It was in the SPENDING that the issues transpired. And, if I am understanding it properly, the issue of the 1.2 was really from changes in the improvement work itself. (And who among us that has ever had a massive construction project did not likewise have changes that happened in the process?) Rockwood is seeking to rectify that process for greater transparency. Thank you Rockwood. Continue to work through all of the relevant issues and let's move forward as we continue to be a GREAT District.
Marty February 28, 2013 at 06:23 PM
I know of a president that read over candlelight. Does that mean that he wouldn't have appreciated a light bulb? Let's blend wants and needs to what is best for all. What core curriculum classes have been cut out? None. Let's find ways to move forward from here positively and with a spirit of cooperation. Forgive me, but I do sense that some will not be happy until the proverbial pound of flesh has been extracted. I want changes at the top too, but has to happen in the proper way. If Smith won't resign, then find a way to work with him until people vote him out. If the majority of the Board wants to extent Dr. Borchers' contract, then find a way to work with him until the Board changes or he moves on. There are some excellent people employed by the District. Find a way to work with them and keep moving forward.
Ben February 28, 2013 at 06:37 PM
You Happen to be ignorant about the politics of the district. There regulations set in place for a reason to prevent these from becoming issues Marty. A "Fair" rating, which happens to be the second to worst rating, reflects poorly on the choices that the district has made. As of now, there is no great reason to be proud of our district until accountability has been made. This includes Dr. Borchers and half of the board to step down from their positions.
Ben February 28, 2013 at 06:45 PM
As a Student at one of the high schools in the district, seeing some of the issues that have come up in the district is a huge let down considering many of us can see the changes that need to be made. There is nothing positive coming out of this other than giving the individuals living in the district to ask Steve Smith and Dr. Borchers to step down. There needs to be accountability here. Regarding their responses from the audit, if their going to walk the walk, they need to walk the walk. I do not in any shape or form see this happening until we clean house of the higher-ups in the district.
Julie Shovlain February 28, 2013 at 07:09 PM
Didn't RSD have some finance people, not on the school board, who were supposed to "accounting" for these types of financial wrongdoings? Where was the CFO during all this?
Marty February 28, 2013 at 07:12 PM
Ben - You seem to be ignorant of history. Dr Borchers began his employment in Rockwood in 2010. How did he cause the issues that happened in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009? You seem to be ignorant of the faithful employees on all levels that comprise the District staff. They make me proud. I am disappointed at "fair." But I am also old enough and experienced enough to know that those who learn from their mistakes make better leaders in the future. Those who don't learn from their mistakes need to move on. I believe Dr. Bochers to be the former. If not, I'm voting out his "bosses" (the Board).
Caffeinated February 28, 2013 at 08:19 PM
I'm impressed that a high school student is paying attention, good for you. This speaks volumes for the caliber of students we have at Rockwood.
Caffeinated February 28, 2013 at 08:24 PM
" If the majority of the Board wants to extent Dr. Borchers' contract, then find a way to work with him until the Board changes or he moves on" Isn't this what is happening? I don't see anyone taking up an armed revolution. I see community activism. This is the process, Marty. You're being fairly vague about what you mean by working in a spirit of cooperation. Be specific: are you urging people to overcome their hesitancy to approve a new bond issue? You have a voice, and can express why. The first step in moving towards a spirit of cooperation may be to acknowledge the reality of voter sentiment and the reasons for it. People aren't voting down these bond issues out of ignorance, but out of concern.
Marty February 28, 2013 at 08:47 PM
The following are not community activists comments. They are angry ones: "It is a sad and embarrassing day in our community." RS for RS "Our teachers who have or are in jeopardy of losing their jobs or positions due to this lack of leadership have already suffered along with our students who have larger class sizes and classes no longer being offered as they were." DMV "There is nothing positive coming out of this other than giving the individuals living in the district to ask Steve Smith and Dr. Borchers to step down. ... I do not in any shape or form see this happening until we clean house of the higher-ups in the district." Ben I have served on Board committees in the past and have asked some questions of the Board and staff - in meetings and outside of meetings. Has Dr. Borchers' learned? Has the Board changed hiring practices? Is the District changing the areas of concern from the audit? If the answer to all of the above are YES, then I do believe we should support the bond issue. If the answer is NO, then vote no. RS for RS brought forward great concerns that had been expressed by many - including myself. Those have been addressed. Now what? Let's move forward and support the over 3,300 others employed by the District. (No, I'm not one of them.)
Caffeinated February 28, 2013 at 08:58 PM
>>"The following are not community activists comments. They are angry one" I would point out that those two sentences are not mutually exclusive, and often anger incites engagement. I have been to board meetings, and community meetings where the frustration was palpable. I have felt that frustration, and the source of that frustration has been a feeling that the Board has not been listening to parents and taxpayers. I have seen first-hand the callous and disrespectful way that Janet Strate has responded to perfectly legitimate questions (some of which were substantiated by the audit). This is democracy in action, Marty. Conversations like this one where people can vent their spleens and interact is the heart of community activism. Do I agree with everything that RS for RS pushes for, or agree at the ways they interact? Not always, but I do think they are a productive organization that serves a much-needed purpose. I think everyone here is being relatively respectful.
Ben February 28, 2013 at 08:59 PM
The Problem is Marty that, he was brought in to fix the issues NOT to add to them! Just like our current President in Washington, They have both added to their specific area of concern's issues. Regarding to the pass dates, almost all of the 1.2 million dollar screw-up that happened while he was in office with the renovations and add-ons to Marquette High School. I am not one who is proud of the Administrative staff that is responsible for these desisions. Most of the teachers have voiced their opinions on the issues. I am at Student at Lafayette, and three out of three teachers that I talked to about the audit were disgusted with the results. I guess you have never walked into a all staff meeting seeing half the staff boo Dr. Borchers. The staff voice their opinions, but there is too much politics in play. I know how this works Marty.
Marty February 28, 2013 at 09:33 PM
Ben - I thought Dr. Borchers was brought in to run the District? I'm not aware of meetings in which half the staff booed the Superintendant. Nor am I aware of them letting students into those types of meetings. If that did happen, then I am not proud of the staff that would have allowed that to happen.
Marty February 28, 2013 at 09:40 PM
"I would point out that those two sentences are not mutually exclusive, and often anger incites engagement." You make a valid point, Caffeinated. There must come a point where the anger calms and we make strides toward peace. Dr. Borchers has rejected calls for his resignation. Steve Smith has rejected calls for his resignation. (I would have welcomed it.) What do we do now? 1) Remain vigilant. 2) Support the 3,300+ 3) Vote in light of the information AND subsequent actions of the Board and Superintendant 4) Remain vigilant
Caffeinated February 28, 2013 at 09:43 PM
I think everyone would agree with those points. I would also state I fully support the teachers, and take great pride in the quality of our front-line educators.
Rockwood Stakeholders for Real Solutions March 02, 2013 at 04:02 AM
Julie Shovalin: David Glaser was CFO for Rockwood from February 1996 – June 2009 (13 years 5 months). Shirley Broz was CFO from July 2009 to June 2012. Where was he during this time is a VERY GOOD QUESTIONS.
Rockwood Stakeholders for Real Solutions March 02, 2013 at 04:04 AM
@Ben You did an excellent job with your comments. Impressed to see such an informed and engaged young adult.


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