Olentangy Local Schools' three high school athletics directors have closed their personal checking accounts used for Ohio High School Athletic Association events.

Olentangy Local Schools' three high school athletics directors have closed their personal checking accounts used for Ohio High School Athletic Association events.

A routine audit of the district's financial statements by the Ohio Auditor's Office released March 8 said the district's policies don't allow such accounts, said Michael Maurer, a spokesman for the state auditor's office.

"Under Ohio law, boards of education have substantial discretion to define payment procedures and the proper use of bank accounts, but once those procedures are defined, they must be followed," a written statement from Ohio Auditor David Yost's office said. "Policies adopted by the Olentangy Board of Education require all district purchases to be administered by the treasurer."

The audit included findings for recovery.

Olentangy High School's Jay Wolfe was required to reimburse the district for $3,970 and Liberty High School's Thomas Gerhardt was directed to reimburse $7,372, because the men "could not gather records to legitimate the expenditures," audit documents said.

Orange High School's athletic director Anthony Milano provided receipts supporting his transactions, and didn't have to reimburse any funds.

District treasurer Becky Jenkins said the accounts have been closed and the district will enhance its training program so athletics directors understand proper documentation and expenditure processes.

The money that went into the checking accounts came from entrance fees to the OHSAA events, such as tournaments, held on Olentangy property. One of the accounts had a few non-OHSAA event fees in it.

"The auditor's office views any money collected on district property as district funds," Jenkins said.

Jenkins stressed the accounts didn't contain any money that came directly from the district.

Board member Adam White on March 14 said he wanted the district to look closely at money spent from the accounts.

Superintendent Wade Lucas said that's being investigated and results are expected in April.

Maurer said auditor's office considers the issue closed.

No problems were found with any other district finances, Jenkins said.

Jenkins said that the OHSAA reviews the receipts and expenditures after each event.

Jeff Jordan, OHSAA's chief financial officer, told ThisWeek, "to the best of my knowledge, I know of no issues that we noted or were unable to resolve."

Jordan also said, "We tell tournament site managers to have separate accounting for the tournament funds, which may mean a variety of methods, including a separate account or conducting the activities through school accounts. Because we have a diversity of membership and we rent local facilities, we try to be mindful that each school district has different financial policies and procedures for handling activities like this."

Jenkins told the school board the auditor's office routinely asked if the district would like an in-depth review of any areas.

"This year, I asked them to review the athletic department, mostly the gate receipts," Jenkins said. "Mostly because we've gotten bigger. There are a lot of people involved and that might be an area where we could use best practices and to make sure everyone is doing what they're supposed to be doing."

The auditor's office then interviewed the athletics directors, who told auditors about the outside checking accounts and said the OHSAA recommends them, Jenkins said.