Like the audit the year before, East Glacier Park School District 50’s audit for fiscal year 2019 once again lacked any findings related to the school district’s operation. The only finding cited in the audit was due to Glacier County’s record keeping. According to the audit report, “The County’s record keeping on behalf of School District appears to be unreliable.”
The district’s annual audit was conducted by Strom & Associates, P.C., of Billings.
The audit report points out Glacier County “has not released audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2018.” It also noted the County’s auditor disclaimed an opinion on the County’s audited financial statements for fiscal years 2016 and 2017.
In the management discussion portion of the audit report, East Glacier School District 50 officials state, “The current status of the County of Glacier’s finances is a going concern for the School District…The school is currently moving through the process of managing its own finances separate from the County.”
The auditors noted Glacier County’s reports of “tax assessments and collections constitute the only available audit evidence for the School District’s tax revenues, related receivables and protested taxes. These reports were materially inconsistent with School District expectations, the actual cash remitted by the County to the School District, and other objective measures.”
The auditors pointed out Glacier County has levied taxes on fee property purchased by a tribal government more than 20 years ago. “The tribal government claims to be exempt from property tax and has not paid the levy for 21 years.”
The total amount levied on the tribal property is in excess of $108,000.00. Since the tribal government claims it is exempt from property tax, the district’s tax revenues have been overstated.
The audit report states Glacier County officials did not provide the East Glacier School District with any information on how they determined the district’s protested tax amounts, which the County reported as -$8,693.00 in FY 2008 and -$1,306.00 in FY 2016.
East Glacier school officials are not aware of any circumstances that would lead to negative balances for protested taxes. Cut Bank School District No. 15 have also questioned Glacier County officials about the negative cash balance in its protested tax fund.
The auditors recommend East Glacier School District officials “continue to work with the County to determine that tax revenues, taxes receivable and protested taxes are adequately accounted for and reported on by the County.”