The Office of State Finance is trying to find where $16 million ultimately found a home.
The funds were part of $105 million in federal stimulus funding that Gov. Brad Henry had at his disposal for the 2010 fiscal year.
School districts received the money for fiscal year 2010 and spent it.
But what remains is a question of how to account for the state's use of the money.
The state must show by a September deadline how the funding was spent.
If the state misses the deadline, the money could have to be returned, possibly with
Making up for lost revenue
The $16 million was earmarked originally to fund a part of roughly $33 million promised to school districts for revenue lost to ad valorem tax breaks given to local businesses and
â€œThe state auditor raised some concern that that money could potentially end up in a bond sinking fund,â€ said Brandy Manek, budget
Concern about the ad valorem reimbursement stemmed from a law that the federal funds couldn't be used to pay off state debt.
So, in the final days of the 2010 legislative session, Senate Bill 1566 was passed to take $16 million from the school districts' textbook fund to go into the ad valorem reimbursement fund that the stimulus money was originally going to make whole.
â€œThe governor recalled the (stimulus) money,â€ Manek said, â€œand redesignated it for textbook reimbursements.â€
Tracking down textbook purchases
Renee McWaters, executive director of state aid for the Department of Education, said she was notified on Sept. 2 that the stimulus funds had been transferred to the suddenly underfunded textbook account.
McWaters said the school districts have been working hard to go back through their finances and account for what they spent on textbooks during the three eligible months for reimbursement and filing for those claims online, so that how the stimulus funds were used can be reported properly to the federal
â€œIt had to be, according to the Office of State Finance, limited to what was purchased the first three months of that fiscal year,â€ McWaters said.
â€œIt took the whole state to cover that $16 million.â€
Changing the accounting again
But the accounting for the money is about to change again.
Michael Clingman, director of the Office of State Finance, said receipts for the textbooks were not submitted by the school districts, so now the money will be accounted for through the school districts' 2011 payroll.
â€œI think it will be easier now because we're in a new fiscal year,â€ he said. â€œIt's perfectly allowable under federal rules.â€
State schools Superintendent Sandy Garrett said that newest change in accounting caught her office by surprise on Monday.
â€œThere is a meeting planned for next Wednesday,â€ she said.
â€œThey have all the textbook claims and if they are going to change that, we've not