A state audit shows new computer software at the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School in Vinton caused errors of up to a million dollars in the school’s accounting system. But Deputy State Auditor Andy Nielsen says there was never any missing money.
“The books were o.k.,” Nielsen says. “It was just a matter of when the software package was initiated outstanding checks weren’t reported properly, so you had to make some manual adjustments to be able to get things in balance.”
One of the complications is the school gets financing from four different sources. Those four different accounts or “funds” pay for different things at the school and the computer software must keep those funds separate.
“The software is a good, commercially off-the-shelf package,” Nielsen says. “It probably doesn’t work as well — at least without proper training, etc. — to be able to use it for fund accounting and…the crux of the matter here is the fund accounting issue.”
The audit covered the period from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010. Nine students were living at the Iowa Braille and Sight-Saving School that academic year. The state spent over a quarter-of-a-million dollars for each of those nine students.
The state audit recommended that the school draft a disaster plan, to ensure critical documents — like the school’s payroll and other accounts — would not be lost if disaster strikes the school. The Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School was hit by a storm last summer that caused major damage on the Vinton campus.
The school opened in 1852 and Mary Ingalls — the sister of “Little House on the Prairie” author Laura Ingalls Wilder — was a student.