State auditor: Wellsville School District made over $36K of ‘sloppy’ insurance errors

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WELLSVILLE, Ohio (WKBN) – The state auditor says “sloppy” insurance errors by the Wellsville Local School District resulted in a recovery of more than $36,000, but Wellsville Schools’ superintendent says that money is being refunded to the district.

According to Auditor of State Keith Faber’s Office, a 2020 financial audit of the Columbiana County school district found that two employees were improperly included in the district’s insurance program and that the district paid a total of $30,057 in premiums on their behalf. Those employees were unaware that they were even in the plan.

Faber said that money went to an insurance pool to pay all member district claims.

Additionally, several district employees received healthcare benefits without paying their share of premiums, according to Faber. The auditor noted that there is no written documentation, contracts, or Board of Education action approving the benefits.

That amount totaled $6,280.

“This is a just sloppy handling of tax dollars and it cannot be tolerated,” said Auditor Faber. “Attention to detail is imperative to a successful financial operation and this school district should ensure these oversights are corrected.”

Findings for recovery were issued against those employees as well as the district’s treasurer and former treasurer and their bonding companies.

Wednesday, Wellsville Schools Superintendent Richard Bereschik said that the Portage Area School Consortium, of which the district is a member, agreed to refund the money. The district pays a monthly fee to the consortium for pooling insurance rates.

Bereschik said the errors occurred during unusual circumstances during a transition to a new treasurer. He said the treasurer actually discovered the overpayment and reported it to the auditing firm.

“We have been working with the auditor’s office throughout this whole ordeal,” he said.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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