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Missouri college to return state cash.

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Ozarks Technical Community College will return a $180,000 appropriation that was mentioned in a critical state audit, the president of the school's governing board said.

Ina statement issued recently, board president Delores Brooks said formal action would be taken to return the money to the state.

Brooks called the fund issue "a distraction for the college and the community."

The board, the state auditor and the state attorney general have been embroiled in a monetary tug-of-war ever since an October state audit suggested the school give back the $180,000.

The money, issued in 2001, was to be used as seed money for a campus development in Ozark. That development has since stalled.

State Attorney General Jay Nixon said last week that he wanted the school to return the money. But board members, instead of turning the money over on demand, said they wanted a more detailed, legal reason for turning over the funds. Nixon said no further explanation was necessary.

The audit, released Oct. 7, was critical of the college in other areas as well.

It found that the school twice diverted money for a political campaign through a contract that requires the Company that runs the campus bookstore to make a $20,000 donation to the college.

Though the money typically went to the school's scholarship fund, one donation was given to "Committee for Better Jobs, Better Lives," which was campaigning for a property-tax ballot issue to benefit the college. State law prohibits the use of public funds to support any ballot measure.

College President Norman Myers has apologized that some of his wife's meeting expenses were paid for with school money, and he has reimbursed the college for $1,658.
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Publication:Community College Week
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U4MO
Date:Nov 25, 2002
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