EMMETSBURG, Iowa — A special investigation by the Office of Auditor of State in Iowa has revealed more than $16,000 in improper and unsupported disbursements in student activity funds by a north Iowa high school football coach.
The investigation was requested by the Emmetsburg Community School District after concerns were identified by the district’s Superintendent about past use of disbursements from the student activity funds and funds that were not deposited into a district account. A CPA firm hired by the district found issues related to football coach Mike Dunlap, who was also the Activities Director for the district until the end of the 2020-2021 school year.
The State Auditor’s Office said it looked into the time period between July 1, 2013 and August 31, 2021. The investigation identified $16,117.83 in improper disbursements and $703 of unsupported disbursements related to the student activity fund accounts and purchases made with a district credit card. Because of poor record-keeping, the Auditor’s Office said it could not determine whether any other instances of improper disbursement occurred during the time period.
Some of the money disbursed from the student activity fund improperly went to pay for football camps held on school district property each summer that were not affiliated with the school. The investigation shows more than $8,500 that was paid to sports apparel vendors for clothing and other items for those camps.
Other improper disbursements that were identified include:
- $2,800 in donations to nonprofit organizations
- $1,052.99 of food for the football camps that were not sponsored or affiliated with the district
- $3,684.74 of purchases with the district’s credit card that did not meet Department of Education guidelines for use of student activity funds
The State Auditor’s Office says Dunlap has repaid the Emmetsburg Community School District $4,610.86 in connection with the football camps. While Dunlap is no longer the district’s activities director, he remains the high school football coach.
In its report about the investigation, the State Auditor’s Office outlined several recommendations for the district to create greater oversight and accountability for athletics fundraising and the proper use of the funds. That included making sure all fundraising events have been approved and sufficient supporting documentation is kept for the funds and disbursements.
The results of the investigation have been filed with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, the Palo Alto County Attorney’s Office, and the Attorney General’s Office.