TORKELSON COMP. $168,641
Contract $98,000; Benefits $15,000
2nd highest paid of state's 424 admin.
Wis. DPI Supt comp. $121,307
Cost per student Mercer $25,281;
Wis. $12,942; Nation $10,667
Mercer ACT & School Report Card
scores lowest of 21 N. Wis. schools

Wednesday, April 25, 2018


A Disturbing Swan Song
PIERPONT OUT AS PRESIDENT; BRANDT IS IN
Even at her last Mercer School Board meeting as president, Deanna Pierpont couldn’t resist showering a full house audience with a string of misrepresentations.  And Administrator Erik Torkelson added to the misinformation with many distortions of his own.
Noel Brandt was elected board president to replace Pierpont.  Even if Pierpont had not sought reelection as president, her purge was certain as a result of the recent School Board election of Karl Anderson, which was another step in cleaning up the School Board mess.  Karl campaigned on a pledge of board honesty and transparency, and was overwhelming elected to replace Torkelson’s mother-in-law, Kelly Kohegyi, on the board.
Karl was elected the board’s new vice president, while Micki Pierce-Holstrom was elected board clerk and Pierpont was elected treasurer.  Strange that Pierpont was put in charge of managing school funds when there have been mounting questions about misspending and mismanagement during her badly tainted tenure as board president.
That issue also surfacing when School Board member Christa Reinert asked that two letters be discussed regarding demands from the Wisconsin Department of Instruction for information of Community Services Fund 80 abuses and Torkelson pay excesses. (See MSF 4/14/18 Closing In: DPI Investigating…) Pierpont lamely and incorrectly said, “It would not be appropriate to discuss it (the DPI requests) until we have a resolution.” 
But Torkelson said at Monday night’s meeting that he complied “100 percent” with the earlier March 12 DPI request for information.  The DPI’s April 20 follow up request strongly disagreed that Torkelson had complied with the first request. Torkelson also falsely said that the 8-page April 20 DPI letter “outlined the reams of documents they have already received.”
According to the DPI:
“The District provided an inadequate explanation of their use of Fund 80…The District must provide an explanation as to why each Fund 80 expense is not part of the general fund, Fund 10.  A general statement provided by the district… is not adequate documentation as to the Fund 80 cost eligibility.”
Torkelson also completely ignored the DPI demand for his contract and payroll information and for the same information for Lori Boltz, Holly Duensing, Julie Hoffmeister, Adam Kussard, Chris Ronallo and Tricia Thompson.
Torkelson’s attempt to stonewall the DPI apparently did not sit well with the DPI officials because not only did they demand the information they had not received in response to the first letter, but they greatly expanded a demand for additional information in the April 20 letter.
For instance the DPI wants to know, among many other detailed items, why Community Service Fund 80 money was improperly used to:
·        Resurface the school’s floors to the tune of $20,158;

·        Make an unexplained $5,091 purchase from Best Buy;

·        Make another unexplained $10,217 expenditure.
Torkelson has until May 7 to provide the DPI with the information it has demanded.  If Torkelson continues to treat this as a game the DPI is playing, it will probably next end up on the hands of the Wisconsin Department of Justice and the FBI.  Past and present School Board members involved also need to be concerned.

Also at Monday night’s meeting, Christa Reinert, in her continuing attempt to restore transparency, renewed her request for a line item explanation of the school’s monthly expenditures report.  She also asked that video recordings of the monthly meetings be resumed so that Mercer citizens unable to attend meetings can be kept informed. 

With Pierpont out as board president and Torkelson most likely on his way out, Noel Brandt, along with Christa and Karl, have an opportunity to provide Mercer residents with the school information they have long been denied.

Saturday, April 21, 2018


Now Is the Time for Change
PIERPONT MUST GO!
How can we expect to provide our Mercer students with an honest education when we have a dishonest Mercer School Board leadership and administration?
This can be changed at this coming Monday night’s School Board meeting if two members of the board – Noel Brandt and Micki Pierce-Holstrom -- recognize their responsibilities for the quality education of our children and to Mercer taxpayers.  In so doing they must throw off the shackles which have bound them to the failed School Board President Deanna Pierpont and Administrator Erik Torkelson.
They must oust Pierpont as board president and set in motion the actions that will remove Torkelson as administrator.  At Monday night’s meeting the board will select its officers for the next 12 months.  That is when they should vote Pierpont out of any board leadership position.  
Mercer voters took the initial steps in trying to clean up the Mercer school mess by electing to the board Karl Anderson in this April’s election and Christa Reinert in the election before.  Karl and Christa have vowed to restore honesty and transparency as well as eliminate misspending and mismanagement. 

Now it is up to Brandt or Pierce to continue the clean-up by standing with Karl and Christa and boot out Pierpont.  Hopefully Brandt and Pierce will each vote for the needed change.
Pierpont further tarnished her already besmirched record in a Letter to the Editor misrepresenting information.  Among the dishonest statements in the letter was that Torkelson’s pay package of $165,641 was based on a salary of $113,500, knowing that it was really $98,000.  She also falsely said that a “group” thinks Mercer should be absorbed by the Hurley School District.  Actually, that “group” consists of her and Torkelson because they are the only ones who, as a scare tactic, have talked about closing the Mercer school.
Pierpont violated School Board policy 143.1 Public Expression of Board Members by not making it clear in the letter, which she signed as president of the Mercer School Board, that her views do not necessarily reflect the views of the board or of her colleagues on the board.
After Pierpont’s removal as board president voters should then to look at recalling her in a special School Board election or certainly not reelecting her when her term expires next spring. 

Saturday, April 14, 2018


Closing In
DPI INVESTIGATING MERCER FUND 80 MISUSE, TORKELSON PAY EXCESSES
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction has demanded that Mercer Administrator Erik Torkelson surrender a massive amount of Fund 80 and payroll records. The investigation stems from complaints concerning the “Community Programs and Services Fund (Fund 80) in 2015-16 and 2016-17.”
The DPI said that it also investigating complaints “alleging that your (Torkelson’s) total salary and benefits are greater than your employment contracts.”  In addition to Torkelson’s compensation being under investigation, the DPI asked for the payroll history for Lori Boltz, Holly Duensing, Julie Hoffmeister, Adam Kussard, Chris Romallo and Tricia Thompson.
The DPI launched its investigation in 2017 by asking for Fund 80 documentation on September 22, 2017, and October 22, 2017. Apparently not satisfied with what they then received, the DPI demanded voluminous additional documentation.
It has long been contended in Mercer that most of the Fund 80 services were phony and that Torkelson used the Fund as a ”money pot” paying himself and others for work not actually performed.   About 75% of Fund 80 money has flowed into the pockets of Torkelson and the others and not into Fund 80 programs. The DPI asked for an accounting of the hours Torkelson and the others spent on Fund 80 programs.
A major problem for Torkelson is that the historic pay records will show that he improperly tacked Fund 80 pay and benefits on top of the contractual amounts.  The DPI has asked for all of contract for the two years.

For each of the two years being investigated, Torkelson gave himself $161,336 and $168,641 in salary and benefits while his contract was for $98,000 in salary and about $15,000 in benefits.
Before Torkelson was hired in 2011, the annual Fund 80 budget averaged $3,225 a year.  In his first year he hit the taxpayers for $257,000 of Fund 80 money.  Since then he has plowed $1,587,000 of taxpayer money into the mostly phony programs.  The DPI has also asked for detailed information about the programs.

Monday, April 9, 2018


Justice Prevails
 
KARL’S IN, KOHEGYI’S OUT IN MERCER SCHOOL BOARD ELECTION

In an overwhelming victory, Karl Anderson snowed under incumbent Kelly Kohegyi, 420 to 284, for a seat on the five-member Mercer School Board as Mercer residents took another major step in trying to regain control of a runaway School Board and administration.

Karl ran on a platform of restoring honesty and transparency and noted the major need for academic and financial overhauls, both of which are in dire need.

Mercer residents took the initial step in the last election by voting Christa Reinert to the board and booting off Denise Thompson, who was a part of the destructive school board gang.  Since her election, Christa has tirelessly and relentlessly attempted to expose wasteful spending and mismanagement.  For this she has been intimated, harassed and embarrassed by Administrator Erik Torkelson, Board President Deanna Pierpont and Kohegyi.

Christa will now have in Karl Anderson a strong and valuable ally in cleaning up the School Board mess.

Kohegyi was soundly rejected by Mercer residents for numerous displays of bad judgement, including showing the sexually-explicit movie “Fifty Shades of Grey” to young Mercer school girls.  That gave Mercer a big black eye because of the resulting nationwide publicity.

Also weighing heavily on the election outcome is that Kohegyi, as Torkelson’s  mother-in-law, had a huge conflict of interest problem.  She and Pierpont hired Torkelson as administrator with him having no such previous experience.  They enabled him to take home $168.641 in salary and benefits while his contract was for $98,000 in pay and about $15,000 in benefits.

During Torkelson’s tenure the school’s academics records have crashed to where the district is at the bottom of the lists of all 21 northern Wisconsin schools with its ACT and DPI school report card scores. 

Next to go must be Torkelson and Pierpont.

Monday, April 2, 2018


Not Just Old News
“FIFTY SHADES’ SCANDAL STILL A REAL ISSUE
Some Mercerschoolfacts readers have asked what the “Fifty Shades of Grey” ruckus is all about.  Unless they were somewhere else at the time, they would have been overwhelmed by the negative publicity which resulted in embarrassing notoriety for Mercer. 
In brief, Kelly Kohegyi, Mercer school board member and mother-in-law to Administrator Erik Torkelson, showed the sexually explicit movie “Fifty Shades of Grey” to young school girls in the back seat of her vehicle.  The shocking incident received statewide –in fact nationwide – notoriety.  Print, broadcast and social media were saturated with telling how the decadent incident unfolded.  It was even cited as the “Mercer bad example” at a teacher conference as “what not to do”.   Members of the clergy condemned the act from their pulpits.
Now, in the April 3 election, Kohegyi is seeking reelection.  The resurfacing of the scandal has been criticized as “beating a dead horse” or “old news.”  But the issue clearly demonstrates the extremely poor judgment by Kohegyi, not only by showing an obscene movie to young girls, but in many other instances – like the huge conflict of interest issue by continuing on the school board while her son-in-law is the administrator. 
Although the “Fifty Shades” incident occurred in August 2015, it is still relevant today because it clearly shows a pattern of bad judgment by Kohegyi.  This and other incidents are proof that Kohegyi should not have a part in determining the future of our children.
Read these excerpts from a 2016 page one story of a major metropolitan newspaper and draw your own conclusion if Kohegyi belongs on the school board.

'Fifty Shades of Grey' viewing sparks battle at Northwoods school
A decision by two high school volleyball coaches — one a teacher, the other a School Board member — to show the sexploitation film "Fifty Shades of Grey" to a carful of teenage girls has plunged a tiny town in northern Wisconsin into a contentious and highly personal School Board race. 
 …

The controversy surrounding the film stems from August 2015 when (Robyn) Schoeneman and (Kelly) Kohegyi drove the girls’ volleyball team to Oconto Falls, en route to a tournament in Crivitz.  

According to court records, Schoeneman explained that she drove the freshmen and Kohegyi carted the juniors and seniors.  

Schoeneman says the older girls picked out the film at the local grocery store and that she initially objected. They argued that everyone in the car was either 17 — the age limit for an R-rated film — or had already seen it. She agreed to rent it, but said it would be up to Kohegyi whether they could watch it. They did, she said, with headphones on, in the back of Kohegyi's Suburban.  

The 2015 film was based on the blockbuster erotica trilogy that featured the sadomasochistic sexual escapades of a young woman and her psychologically manipulative lover. The books, widely derided as poorly written "mommy porn," were banned by some libraries and drew protests from women's organizations that called it misogynistic.  

Restore honesty and transparency to our School Board

ELECT KARL ANDERSON

Sunday, April 1, 2018


Karl Anderson and the Issues
WHY I NEED YOUR VOTE –4
(Following are excerpts from Facebook posts “Karl Anderson for Mercer School Board.)
I would like to state my reasons for running for the School Board and break them down for you one by one and offer a bit more insight, if possible.
 I am running against incumbent Kelly Kohegyi because I firmly believe that Kelly does not belong on the board due to an overwhelming conflict of interest. She is the mother-in-law of the school administrator Erik Torkelson. This creates a HUGE conflict of interest. Even if Kelly excuses herself from the room during any conversation associated with Erik's work performance or anything associated with his pay or benefits, how can she possibly not be biased when he makes recommendations to the board?  This man reports directly to the board.  He is the only employee of the district that does. The rest of the employees report to him. It is his job to carry out the directives of the board. This conflict of interest should be enough reason, all by itself, to vote for anybody but Kelly. I have no conflicts of interest.
                                               *               *                      *

I want to address some of the rumors being circulated in the community about me.... 

Rumor #1) "Karl wants to close the school."  Nothing could be further from the truth.  I realize the value of having a school in our community.  Without a school you cannot attract young families to the area.  Without young families you won't have volunteer firemen, emergency medical services, new businesses or people to work in existing businesses, etc... 

Rumor #2) "Karl will do away with all sports."  I realize the value of the lessons learned through participation in organized sports.  The lessons of teamwork, individual effort, leadership, pride in one's accomplishments, how to be a winner and more importantly how to lose with dignity and grace.  All of these things help prepare young people for the real world.

Rumor #3) "Karl will get rid of all the janitors." Really? This rumor is so ridiculous that it doesn't even deserve comment.

Rumor #4) "Karl will do away with all of the Community Services Fund 80 programs."  I believe that Fund 80 has been abused and will want to look at what value the individual programs have, how much it costs and how many people are being served through these programs. One person who is employed through a Fund 80 program was told that if I were elected that job would be gone. That's giving me quite a bit of credit for being a powerful individual. If elected, I would be only ONE of five votes. Even if I wanted to, it would require two additional votes to get rid of anything.
*               *               *

Additionally, I have been witness to the harassment and personal attacks directed toward board member Christa Reinert. This has come from the administrator, board president and my opponent, Kelly Kohegyi.
Restore honesty and transparency to our School Board
ELECT KARL ANDERSON

Saturday, March 31, 2018


Karl Anderson and the Issues
WHY I NEED YOUR VOTE -- 3
Today's comment is about "Assure our students will receive the best education possible to prepare them for their future."
This is the job of the Board of Education. They oversee all aspects of the operation of the school but they are ultimately charged with educating our students. But how do we know if our students are doing well?  What means do we have to measure student success?
There are standards used to compare how one school does vs. others. One example that many folks look at are the ACT composite scores. There is a statewide average and then the school's average. Typically these are compared to one another and then to other schools in close proximity to one another.
The current state average is 20.0 (2016-'17). Mercer's composite score is 16.6. There are many factors that can affect the composite score, but facts are facts. The numbers don't lie.
Some might say that it's not a fair comparison for this reason or that. Maybe so, maybe not. I do know that it is still a good barometer to use. It can cause us to look at our curriculum and ask the hard questions about how we are teaching and what we are teaching. We must not be afraid to improve, we must not make excuses. Our student's futures depend on us getting this right for them.
Restore honesty and transparency to our School Board
ELECT KARL ANDERSON

Friday, March 30, 2018


 

Karl Anderson and the Issues
WHY I NEED YOUR VOTE -- 2
Today I want to address my comments and concerns about school security/safety. I had said I would work to "assure that we provide a safe and secure school environment for our students.  We cannot take the attitude of ‘it won’t happen here’.   We must scrutinize and review our security controls.”
Given recent events around the country I find it absolutely crazy that we even need to have this discussion.  BUT WE MUST. We cannot think that we are some sort of special community that will be immune to the unthinkable ever happening here. We must be proactive.
When I was on the School Board a number of years ago we changed the lock on the outside door to the gym because we had no idea how many keys were circulating in the community and who had them. The last I knew, the current lock is an electronic keypad.  One might wonder who currently has the code to get in?
Who has after hours access to our building? Who has access before the students arrive? Who is using our computer lab, workout room, walking track? Who lets them in to our school and monitors where they go and what they do?
And what about the students? What security measures are we taking with them? How are we protecting them during the day?
This conversation already started with a special meeting of the school board that took place at 9:00 a.m. Wednesday, March 7th. How many of you folks were able to attend that and provide input?  I know I wasn't even aware that the meeting was taking place, not that I would have been able to attend due to my full time job.
 The security of our students and staff is critical. We must do whatever we possibly can to make sure they are safe. For those who don't think something bad can happen here you are mistaken.  We are no longer insulated from the events of the rest of our world. We must be prepared and take action to secure our school building.
Restore honesty and transparency to our School Board
ELECT KARL ANDERSON

Thursday, March 29, 2018


Karl Anderson and the Issues
WHY I NEED YOUR VOTE -- 1
In case you are wondering what my reasons are for running for Mercer School Board, I've put together the following summary. 

Due to an overwhelming conflict of interest, Kelly Kohegyi, who is the mother-in-law of the school administrator, does not belong on the Mercer School Board.  I have no conflicts of interest.

As a board member I will work to:
• Assure that our students receive the best education possible to prepare them for their futures.
• Assure that we provide a safe and secure school environment for our students. We cannot take the attitude of “it won’t happen here”.  We must scrutinize and review our security controls.
• Restore fiscal responsibility and seek to end wasteful spending.
• Find ways to be fiscally responsible in maintaining and improving our building infrastructure.
• Help restore the proper chain of command to where the School Board is in control and the administrator works for the Board, not the other way around.
• Help end bullying, intimidation and harassment on the part of the administrator and Board members.
• Restore a School Board that operates within the confines of the state and federal statutes.
• Provide for transparency of the business dealings of the Board.

Fair, transparent, ethical, honest, no conflict, fiscally responsible…these are the words that represent my approach to Mercer School matters.
Restore honesty and transparency to the School Board
ELECT KARL ANDERSON 

Wednesday, March 28, 2018


                                                                        Starting Thursday--
                                                                        Daily reports on school issues
                                                                        as seen by School Board
                                                                        Candidate KARL ANDERSON
Letters to the Editor (from the Iron County Miner)
THE MERCER SCHOOL BOARD NEEDS KARL ANDERSON
Mercer voters have an important decision to make in the April 3 School Board election.  Do they want to see their children receive the education they need and deserve? Do they want to see their school tax dollars used wisely?
If the answer is “yes”, then they must vote for Karl Anderson for a seat on the Mercer School Board.  Karl is a respected business leader who had served on the School Board a few years ago, including a stint as board president.  He already has knowledge of how a school board should function.  During his tenure the school ranked high in the state with its ACT score and school taxes were kept low. 
His opponent in the election is the incumbent Kelly Kohegyi, who as the mother-in-law of administrator Erik Torkelson, has the ever-present potential for a conflict of interest.  Also important is that Kohegyi has frequently demonstrated extremely poor judgment, including the showing of the sexually explicit movie “Fifty Shades of Grey” to young Mercer school girls.  The widespread publicity resulting from the incident brought Mercer negative and embarrassing notoriety.
Karl Anderson along with Christa Reinert, who was elected to the school board in the last election, will have the opportunity to reverse the poor management of the school’s finances and educational programs.  The school district’s audit for the year ended June 30, 2017, showed that the school operated at a deficit of $405,800 for the year, and that without revenue relief “it will be forced to cut areas of academic programming”. 
During Kohegyi’s tenure and since Torkelson became administrator in 2011, the school’s ACT composite score has steadily declined to where today Mercer ranks at the bottom of the list of 21 northern Wisconsin schools.  Similarly, it is at the bottom of same list with its Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction school report card score.
Despite these poor results, Mercer spends more than twice the state average for the education of each child.  Also, you would expect much better results from an administrator who was paid $168,641 in salary and benefits, placing him high on the list of the highest paid of the state’s 424 school administrators.
As a School Board member, Karl Anderson will face a major challenge in trying to help restore fiscal responsibility and transparency and repair a failed educational program.  He is the only candidate qualified for the task so a vote for Karl Anderson is essential.  Dick Kemplin
Restore honesty and transparent to the School Board
ELECT KARL ANDERSON

Friday, March 23, 2018


More About the Audit
THE BIZARRE BOOKKEEPIING IS BAFFLING

“Follow the money.”  This phrase has been popularly used for investigative purposes where the inappropriate use of money has been alleged.  But “following the money” when Mercer school finances are concerned is an almost impossible task.
Take, for example, the audit completed by Eagle Audit & Accounting which shows a deficit of $405,813 for the school year ended June 30, 2017.  However, the School District’s own “Budget Hearing and Annual Meeting” materials handed out at the October 30, 2017, annual meeting showed a deficit of $248,300 --- expenses of $3,475,204 and revenues of $3,226,904. So what happened between the annual meeting and the completion of the audit on November 8, 2017, that there would be a $157,513 difference? 
Another apparent inconsistency is that the audit shows $138,600 spent for the mostly phony Fund 80 programs, but the annual meeting materials showed $213,000.  This makes you wonder what happened to the other $74,400 between time of annual meeting and when the audit was completed.
But what should worry Mercer taxpayers most is that buried deep inside the 62-page audit is the threat of another school tax increase referendum.  Here is what was included in the audit as “Management’s (the administration’s) Discussion and Analysis”:
“The rapidly escalating costs of health insurance and special education services are creating a substantial financial burden on the District.  If the current trend continues without revenue relief we will be forced to cut areas of academic programming.”
Cut academic programs?  What about the more than $100,000 being spent on the athletic program?  Or the $70,641 Administrator Erik Torkelson took home in salary and benefits in excess of his legally contractual amounts? Or the $213,000 of Fund 80 Community Services money, which is substantially spent on items other than community services?

So,Torkelson is suggesting cutting academic programs when all of this other taxpayer money is being wasted or unaccounted for.  These are other examples of mismanagement and misspending which should tell Mercer taxpayers that these are more reasons to vote for Karl Anderson – to vote for change.
Restore honesty and transparency to the School Board
ELECT KARL ANDERSON

Saturday, March 17, 2018




9

From the Woods Person Blogsite 


We received the following as a comment on an old post this AM.  Good questions and not the first time we've been asked.   If anybody knows the answers, please comment below.  A school board response would be helpful to all

I am a part-time resident and taxpayer in Mercer, WI. I have some questions for the Mercer, WI school board and administration which I would like to have answered in this public forum.

First, I received information last fall concerning a possible increase in property taxes for the school to be used to do “essential” facility repairs. There were, as I understand, two public meetings with consultants on the building’s needs and funding options present. The figure I was given indicated the school wanted to borrow $3 million to accomplish these projects. Questions: What happened? I have heard nothing since November. Has the district borrowed the $3 million?

Second, public records show the district operated at a deficit of over $250,000 last year. The budget document I received in November of 2016 did not show a projected deficit. Questions: How did the district not predict this budget deficit? In light of the need to make building repairs, will there be another fund balance decrease this year? 

 

Christa A. ReinertMarch 10, 2018 at 11:27 AM

I will do my best as I just received the 2015-16 audit which I have compared to the 2016-17 audit that I also just received. First of all, the 16-17 audit shows a $405,000 deficit with a $125,926 decrease in Federal funding from 15-16 ($382,835 federal awards) to 16-17 ($256,909 federal awards)and the state support remained the similar 15-16 $245,632 and 16-17 $254,440. The 2016 audit does show Fund 80 was $48,610 over budget with a Levy of $175,000 and total expenditures $223,610. but I believe there was a carry over from the previous year. To answer your question on whether the board knew about the Federal funding decrease, my answer is NO as I was not a part of the budget process, including the Fund 80 budget which state law dictates the board is responsible for developing the Fund 80 budget. I was given my copy of the "PROPOSED BUDGET" 48 hours before the annual meeting. The board also never voted to accept the proposed budget to then bring it to the annual meeting. Why you may ask? I have voiced my concern with this process to the Board President, Pierpont and I am denied any answer for two years. Your question regarding the proposed referendum that would actually cost the district tax payers $5.9 million over 20 years was FIRST brought up since Sept, at the February board meeting by Noel Brandt. He stated that he is working on estimates for only a few projects mentioned last fall, prioritizing what needs to be done first and he stated the leaking roofs and improving the security system are most urgent. I asked how these will be paid for, he stated we can use fund 45 or 47 he wasn't sure to save money to then proceed with these projects. I then said, so we won't be looking for a referendum? And Erik T. chimed in and said well yeah we may need to do both. I stated that on a time line, there would not be a referendum in April, it would have to be with a general election in November per state law. Noel agreed. I then said, so I don't get it, if we prioritize two projects per year, we will be looking to go to referendum every year to help pay for these repairs/upgrades? I got no straight answer. The district has not secured any loan that I am aware of pertaining to repairs. The district did borrow $200,000 in either Nov or Dec 2017 to pay bills and it has been paid back with interest, I again was not made aware of this loan even though our district policy states it takes a 2/3 vote of the board of education to approve any borrowing. These are only a few of the issues at hand, I have voiced my concerns to Pierpont with how this board does not follow the law and district policy. I have been told repeatedly by her, we have hired Erik to run this school and that's what he is doing. The Mercer tax payers need to start paying attention before it's too late for the school's continued existence. I hope this has helped. Christa Reinert

Monday, March 12, 2018


Another Failing Grade
THE OFFICIAL MERCER SCHOOL AUDIT
Have you wondered who in the Mercer school office is using a school credit card and what is being charged?  Or what about the gasoline being charged, or the Best Buy and Amazon account charges for which there is no reporting on what is being purchased and by whom? 
As a taxpayer, who is footing the bill, you should want to know because big bucks are involved.  You would think that the school’s auditors, Eagle Audit & Accounting, would also like to know because in its audit for the school year ended June 30, 2017, it noted a “significant deficiency of the purchase order policy and consistent use.”  It sounds like what Eagle Audit is suggesting is that credit charge accounts should not be used and that purchase orders, which clearly show what is being purchased and by whom, should be used instead. 
“Purchase orders provide additional control over budgeting, approval, receipt and recording over the procurement function,” Eagle Audit noted.  “Our audit procedures disclosed instances of purchase orders not being used...”
Most school boards in other districts have eliminated the use credit cards because of the high potential for their misuse.  In a Minneapolis school district the superintendent faces multiple theft and embezzlement charges resulting from the alleged misuse a school credit card.  (See MSF 3/4/18 Power of the People)
Mercer School Board member Christa Reinert has asked that the monthly expense and receipt report, which is routinely and blindly approved by the school board, show the purpose of the each expenditure.  She has received no response to her request.
And these unidentified purchases are not small potatoes.  Just this January someone used the school credit card and charged $2,215.  For all of 2017 the credit card charges totaled $28,317, with one month as high $6,851.  For 2016 the charges totaled $26,497, and for 2015 $25,532.
Gasoline charged at local stations totaled $225 this January, and $2,286 for 2017.  On-line Amazon.com purchases from the school were $928 this January, $6,892 in 2017; and $13,890 in 2016.  In January someone made a $692 purchase from Best Buy.
After these purchases were made they were then blindly approved by the school board without knowing who made them or what had been charged. But if you eliminate the use credit cards and charge accounts in favor of purchase orders then everyone will know what is being charged and by whom.   
Coming soon:  More irregularities citied in the audit report.
Restore honesty and transparency to the School Board
ELECT KARL ANDERSON