Paul Barr's presentation explaining the district's financial condition Tuesday night during a Board of Education work session raised more questions than it answered.
Barr's presentation included details of how the donations that poured into the district after the May 22, 2011, tornado, were spent.
Of course, there was absolutely no reason for any of the concern people had about the donations not being used as the donors had intended.
Why, not a single donation was used improperly.
Forgive me if I remain skeptical.
Barr says $6.8 million came in donations, yet a Joplin Globe report indicated that $8 million was donated and district officials were the source of information for that article.
If the $6.8 million figure is accurate, why in the world did more than $5 million go through the obscure Joplin R-8 Foundation? Donations were tax deductible whether they were sent directly to the school or the foundation. It is much more likely than those wanting to give money, having heard about the plight of the school district, would send their money directly to the district rather than a foundation even people from Joplin were probably not aware existed.
Instead, approximately three-fourths of the money went to the foundation. The reason offered is that the foundation offered another layer of protection to make sure the donations were spent properly.
According to board member Ron Gatz, who also serves on the Foundation Board, records have been kept of each donor and the use of the donations. If that is the case, then please allay our fears and let's open those records to the public.
Turner Report sources have indicated donation money that was not specifically designated was kept in the district treasury while all other money was sent to the foundation.
The same sources told me before the state audit there was a fear in the Administration Building that it was only a matter of time before problems were uncovered with the use of the donations. That fear subsided when it was learned that the auditors would not be able to comb through the foundation's records, since it is a private entity.
Barr's presentation smacks more of the continuing effort to "move forward" and not be concerned about anything that happened in the past. This is not the first time we have had a presentation assuring us that no donation money was improperly spent.
It most likely will not be the last.
Paul Barr's presentation can be found at this link.