City-ordered audit: shows that most BPS schools mismanaged their student activity funding

Nearly all Boston public schools used student activity funds for unrelated costs and lost account records related to spending, the mayor’s office said in a statement last Friday.

After the Internal Revenue Service raised concerns last year following a review of student activity accounts at 16 randomly chosen schools in Boston, the city ordered an audit of the accounts, conducted by Ernst & Young. The firm found that the funds, which are designated for student activities such as student clubs, field trips, proms and other special events, were mismanaged or not properly recorded over the past five years at close to 118 schools in the district. Charter schools in the district were not reviewed.

The school system says it plans to make a number of procedural changes, including ordering the schools to use the city’s internal financial system for the accounts, pending approval from the Boston School Committee at a Sept. 12 meeting.

“Trust, transparency, and being fiscally responsible for the residents of Boston is what drives our priorities, and this in-depth review has allowed for the creation of substantial and comprehensive new policies and procedures,” Mayor Marty Walsh said in the statement. He noted that the audit is the first-ever review of the accounts, which were created in the early 1990s.