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District will shift to accounting firm with local office

CliftonLarsenAllen will no longer handle Red Wing Public Schools’ yearly audit, the board decided Monday.

After a 2-1 finance committee vote in favor of Eide Bailly, the School Board reversed that recommendation, voting 4-2 in favor of Smith, Schafer & Associates.

“I think it’s really important that while we do have these committees set up, that we don’t just rubber stamp everything that comes through, that we have these discussions and I really do feel that Smith and Schafer is the right way to go here,” said board member Bethany Borgschatz.

Smith, Schafer & Associates, which has an office in Red Wing, came in with the lowest bid and also audits the Goodhue County Education District, of which Red Wing Public Schools is a member.

Board member Arlen Diercks expressed concern about having the same firm audit the two closely connected education entities.

“My feeling is that we should have a separate firm from the ed district doing our audit, because of the amount of money that’s moving back and forth,” he said.

Board member Steve Anderson said he saw the same working on both books as a positive.

“If we have qualified firms, why not go with the lowest bid,” Anderson asked, adding Paradis has worked with Smith, Schafer & Associates since starting GCED in 2009 as their business manager.

Board member Mike Christensen and Diercks voted against the motion by Anderson to go with Smith, Schafer & Asscociates.

“We got a very good firm with the vote,” Diercks said, “whether I like the vote or not.”

According to Paradis, the contract is for one year with a district option for another three years.

John R. Russett

John Russett is a regional reporter for RiverTown Multimedia, covering a variety of issues facing RiverTown communities. Previously, he worked at the Red Wing Republican Eagle, where he reported on education as well as crime and courts. 

You can follow him on Twitter at @JohnRyanRussett


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