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Missouri Audit Finds Hickman Mills Misspent Money

Alex Smith

The Missouri Auditor’s office pledges to return to troubled Hickman Mills School District this year after a scathing performance audit released Tuesday night that stops just short of claiming criminal conduct.

Most of 15 separate cases of errors listed in the 40-page document are termed poor business practices by deputy auditor Harry Otto. He includes overpayment of a former superintendent, untrained MAP test overseers and excessive paid trips out of town.

Former School Board Member David Bass listened to the auditor’s litany.

“There’s millions of dollars that are gone that could have gone to classroom instruction. And there is no ... that’s too big a sin to forgive," said Bass.

The district has been struggling to move upward from provisional accreditation and the audit adds a burden for Superintendent Dennis Carpenter, who’s been hired since the investigation in 2011-2012.

“I’ve had a few requests from the auditor’s office in my short time here. And in that time we’ve been very, very prompt with our responses,” said Carpenter.

Auditor Otto  rated the Hickman Mills District operation as “Fair.”

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