Failure to follow proper record keeping procedures was partly responsible for the alleged theft of a tree trimmer by a maintenance supervisor in December, auditors advised the School Board in a report Wednesday.

School district staff did not follow internal control procedures for credit card purchases during the 2014 fiscal year, according to the audit report by Postlethwaite & Netterville.

“The lack of adherence to these procedures has resulted in an alleged theft of School Board assets by the maintenance supervisor of approximately $480,” the report states.

In December, Baker school system maintenance supervisor Emmit Whitfield was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison after he was accused of allegedly stealing a tree trimmer from the Baker School System. He allegedly bought the tree trimmer using a school district credit card and his wife, Queena Whitfield, is accused of selling the tree trimmer to a pawn shop.

Emmit Whitfield resigned from the district in December.

The report also noted that the school district has failed to follow proper internal control procedures with respect to recording transactions from school activity funds and accounting of fixed assets, such as computers and furniture.

Much of the accounting related to fixed assets from the 2014 fiscal year was also inadvertently deleted, the report stated.

During the 2014 fiscal year, the amount of money in the school district’s general fund dropped to $4 million from $12.4 million in 2013. This was mostly due to spending on capital improvements such as lighting for schools, renovations of school district buildings and the purchase of the former Graves Chevrolet property on Plank road for the new School Board offices, Tiffani Dorsa, of the Postlethwaite & Netterville auditing firm, told the board.

Revenues for 2014 were $16.5 million and expenditures totaled $17.3 million, according to the report.