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Local Group Calls for Audit for Springfield Public Schools

A local group that focuses on low-income and minority students who live in the Springfield Public School District is gathering signatures for an audit of the school district. KSMU's Kristian Kriner reports.

Citizens for School Equity needs over 5,000 signatures from parents and other members of the community to get the audit started.

Virgil Hill, co-chair of Citizens for School Equity, says the purpose of the audit is to make sure Springfield Public Schools are using bond money the right way.

“My hope is that the district will, literally, embrace this and will tell you today that we welcome any review and we have nothing to hide. My concern or my fear, perhaps, is that they will fiercely resist this effort, that they will indicate that they have substantial objections to it,” Hill said.

Hill says the state audit would cost between $120,000 and $180,000.

He says another reason for the audit is because the school district is making it difficult for the public to look at its financial statements.

Marc Maness, director of community relations for Springfield Public Schools, disagrees and says it’s easy to access financial statements on the district’s website.

Maness says the district is audited every year and it is willing to work with any group during the audit process.“Citizens have a right to call for an audit and gather petitions for an audit. The most important thing for people to remember is this has not been triggered by any one item or concern and that we feel very confident. We take pride in our fiscal management. Obviously, we would work with any agency or outside entity that is required to conduct an audit,” Maness said.

He says members of the district didn’t know Citizens for School Equity was considering auditing them.

Virgil Hill says he expects the school district’s funds and bookkeeping to be valid, but also that the audit is something the group needs to ensure that all the funds are being used correctly.

For KSMU News, I'm Kristian Kriner.