Black Hawk School financial review finds former principal Kenya Walker, staff didn’t follow rules

Karen Rivedal:

A Madison School District review of financial practices at Black Hawk Middle School found widespread disregard for proper accounting and money handling practices under then-principal Kenya Walker, who admitted using district credit cards for personal needs and oversaw school office operations so lax they resulted in the theft of at least $1,000 from a school fundraiser and more than $10,500 in credit card charges for which the district has no receipt, among other deficiencies noted in the review.

Walker, 45, who was paid $106,466 annually, effectively resigned on April 28 after spending months on a medical leave that began in late January and caused increasing concern among parents at the school. Also in January, the district hired external reviewer Shana Lewis to begin reviewing Black Hawk’s financial practices after concerns were noted by Central Office staff about spending there.

Many of the problems noted in the review revolved around the use of some 15 district-issued credit and procurement cards that are to be used by school staff members for the purchase of low-cost goods, usually under $500. They are designed to eliminate the use of petty cash and personal funds that have to be reimbursed to staff later, setting up a more secure, cost-effective method to purchase small-dollar items for district programs and activities.

Much larger spending questions arose several years ago after a large maintenance referendum.