Audit uncovers missing Pasco Co. schools inventory

- The Pasco County School district is coming up with a better way to track its expensive items after an inventory audit determined hundreds of things have gone missing. 

The district owns a total of about $161 million in property. The recently-released report, which looked at everything that cost at least $750, found that 525 items worth more than $500,000 are unaccounted for, most of which are computers and iPads.

"Recognizing that this is not unique to Pasco County, we're concerned about it and the district has  taken steps to make sure that we get a better handle of where our property is," said Linda Cobbe, a  district spokesperson.

There are some larger items listed in the report, including a John Deere utility vehicle and a refrigerator.

Cobbe said, while some of the items have been stolen, most have been misplaced because they were not  properly documented and tracked.

"Most of these items are in the schools, they're just not where they're supposed to be," she said. "The Superintendent and the School Board are adamant that we're going to get a handle on all of our  property, we're going to know where it is and people will be held accountable who don't keep track of  their property."

By comparison, Hillsborough County schools tallies up its missing items every quarter, as opposed to  once a year. Its most recent audit found about $32,000 in missing property.

Pasco's total is up from about $326,000 the previous school year.

The findings are concerning to the government watchdog group Florida TaxWatch.

"A half million dollars that has gone poof [is] not good news for taxpayers of Pasco County or  anywhere," said the organization's spokesperson, Joe Follick. "This is a reminder for all taxpayers,  whether they're in Pasco County or citizens of Florida, citizens of the country, government is only  as good as the citizens that keep an eye on them."

Cobbe said the district has already made changes, including launching a better electronic tracking  system and establishing a new Office of Resource Management.

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