Missouri auditor

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A state program that gives Missouri colleges and universities additional funding for meeting performance goals needs a lot of work, according to state auditor Nicole Galloway.

The program awards institutions a portion of state funding — up to 5 percent of each school's core higher education funding —based on measures such as graduation rates and learning quality. 

The level of success is determined by how well each college compares to its peers. 

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway was in Kansas City Tuesday to announce her support for legislation that would increase penalties for government officials who steal public money.

Sen. Bob Dixon, a Springfield Republican, has pre-filed legislation that would make official misconduct in the first degree a felony carrying a possible four-year sentence. Currently, it's a misdemeanor. 

It would also give local prosecutors more time to recover damages in cases of fraud or corruption.

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Recent headlines detailing sexual harassment and discrimination at the Missouri Department of Corrections have caught the eye of State Auditor Nicole Galloway — namely because the state uses taxpayer dollars to settle those lawsuits.

Galloway’s office announced Friday it would be reviewing the state’s legal expense fund, which is the pool of money used to make those payments.

Courtesy Brooke Schreier Ganz

Back in February, a nonprofit group called Reclaim the Records filed requests for Missouri birth and death listings from 1910 through 2015.

The California-based outfit describes itself as a “group of genealogists, historians, researchers, and open government advocates who are filing Freedom of Information requests to get public data released back into the public domain.”

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is suing shuttered Kansas City charter school Hope Academy to the tune of $3.7 million.

An audit released last month found the school grossly overstated its daily attendance, resulting in millions of dollars in overpayments from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Hope Academy claimed 97 percent attendance. But only about a third of students ever showed up for class.

A state audit charges the now-closed Hope Academy charter school in Kansas City of grossly overstating its attendance and receiving millions of dollars in excess state aid.

The audit says attendance data submitted to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in 2012-13 and 2013-14 "was incomplete and inaccurate and significantly overstated actual attendance." That finding wasn't a surprise. DESE did a surprise visit to the school on Paseo in November 2013 and quickly discovered the attendance problem.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR

At 33, Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway is the image of composure. But when she was appointed to the position just a few months ago, she inherited an office that was still reeling from suicides of former Auditor Tom Schweich, and his aide Spence Jackson.

Nicole Galloway promises to bring a new perspective to Missouri as its state auditor. We talk to Galloway about inheriting an office in the wake of tragedy and whether she has additional political aspirations. 

A state audit of Jackson County Circuit Court finds continuing weaknesses in its accounting controls and gives it only a “fair” rating.

The report by the office of Missouri State Auditor Nicole R. Galloway comes three years after the court’s administrator was found to have bought nearly $78,000 worth of personal items with a court purchasing card. The administrator, Teresa York, pleaded guilty to mail fraud and was sentenced to two years in federal prison.

Although the new court administrator has set up additional internal controls, the audit found persistent problems. It pointed to unbalanced ledgers and $6 million in investments that didn’t comply with state law and the court’s own investment guidelines.

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Filling Tom Schweich’s void in the state auditor’s office may be one of the most important decisions of Gov. Jay Nixon’s tenure. He’ll have to pick somebody who can perform the tasks of an important office – and contend with the rigors of maneuvering through statewide politics.

As chief executive of the state, Nixon has filled lots and lots of vacancies – everything from an opening for Howard County surveyor to slots on the Missouri Supreme Court. This time, the pressure is on: Some want Nixon to select an African-American for the job, which would bring the state to a weighty milestone 194 years in the making. And others feel Nixon, a Democrat, should take the unlikely step of appointing a Republican to the post.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Former U.S. Sen. John C. Danforth spoke at the funeral Tuesday for state Auditor Thomas A. Schweich, who committed suicide in his St. Louis area home last week. In his emotional eulogy, Danforth called for a change in the current political climate, which he referred to as ugly, and "a low point."

For the entire text of Danforth's eulogy, click here.

A new audit released Tuesday finds that some welfare recipients in Missouri have used their benefits to buy things besides food and other daily necessities, while others may have moved away but continue to get in-state benefits.

A state audit released Tuesday finds that local governments and school districts in Missouri have cost themselves $43 million by not allowing competition for underwriting public bonds.

Republican State Auditor Tom Schweich cites the practice of negotiated bond sales, in which an underwriter is hired in advance and sometimes acts as a financial advisor to the local government that issues the bond.

Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich released a harsh audit of the Missouri Governor’s office on Wednesday. The findings accuse the governor of overspending his appropriation by $1.7 million.

Steve Walker

The Kansas school finance trial enters its third week. A plan to replace Medicaid in Kansas drew criticism at its first public hearing.  It’s a double dose of Shakespeare in Kansas City.  That & more news from KCUR.

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Two ballot questions going before Missouri voters in November won’t cost or save the state any money, according the State Auditor’s office.