ARNOLD • State Auditor Tom Schweich said Thursday that his office will audit the Fox School District.
"The focus of this audit will be to bring clarity to a district embroiled in controversy," Schweich said in a press release. "We are completely independent from any factions in the district and our mission will be to get answers for parents and to help the district move forward responsibly."
The district won’t have to pay for the audit. Had it been requested by a petition, the district would have footed the bill.
The Fox School board on Tuesday requested a state audit after John Brazeal, the district's chief financial officer, said questionable financial transactions were discovered.
Brazeal said former Fox district employees shredded documents and destroyed electronic files. He also said the district paid people at rates above those authorized by the board and apparently used money raised by a bond issue to hide deficits.
Suspicious activity on credit cards used by Fox employees prompted officials to recall all cards this summer. A few of the cards were reissued, but under more restrictive user agreements.
The district has come under fire since nasty comments on a Topix website about district critics were traced to the home of Dianne Critchlow, the district's former superintendent, and her husband, and to other administrators as part of a libel lawsuit.
Critchlow, 48, agreed in June to retire but denied she had made the comments. Her husband was fired and other administrators were reprimanded.
She retired with a $267,468 salary, among the highest in the state, which angered many at a time when the district is trimming millions from its budget.
Critchlow said Wednesday that she looks forward to working with auditors.