Audit of Joplin School District traces issues to tornado

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JOPLIN, Mo.–An audit on the Joplin School District has traced its declining financial condition to the 2011 tornado that devastated the Joplin area.

The Joplin Globe reports that the audit revealed post-tornado efforts to build five new schools has led to a funding gap. The 32-page report says hat the district has spent about $250 million in disaster recovery as of Dec. 31, 2014, which has caused its general fund balance to drop from $13.29 million in 2012 to a projected $4.6 million at the end of the current fiscal year.

At a news conference Monday, Superintendent C.J. Huff said the district had anticipated that its reserve fund would dip to lower-than-average levels because of spending related to tornado recovery and school construction.

The Board of Education has set a goal to slowly rebuild the fund from its current level of 10.6 percent to 25 percent, which would equal about three months of operating expenses.