EVART — With a careful and exacting audit of Evart Public Schools’ financial records coming to a close, an investigation into a suspected and alleged embezzlement of district funds will now kick into high gear with a Michigan State Police team leading the review.

While no arrests have been made as yet, district and law enforcement officials believe they have identified a person responsible for the missing funds.

“We are still trying to get all the information we need collected, checked and double checked before we file a formal complaint,” said EPS Superintendent Howard Hyde. “There certainly is a situation, and we are reacting as best we can to this problem.”

The school district’s auditors began a standard and normally carried out audit of the schools books on June 30 — immediately at the end of the budgetary year. By the end of the day on July 1, the auditing team had already informed district officials there was a problem.

“We started the process of investigating the irregularities, and quickly developed a line of suspicion to one employee,” said Hyde. “At this stage, we need to finalize with a relatively exact dollar figure in order to file a complaint. The MSP needs that information in order to file the appropriate charges.”

Hyde said that to his knowledge, state police have already visited the now-former employee, and the person involved has retained legal counsel.

The school district is insured for the loss of money under such circumstances. The district is insured up to $100,000 with a $250 deductible in the case of such an incident.

While ultimately the monetary loss to the district will be minuscule, the loss of trust in a long-time employee is in many ways much more devastating.

“We are still shocked,” said Hyde. “This is a person who has been with the district, in a number of capacities, for quite a bit of time.

“It is very much beyond disappointing.”

The employee involved has resigned from their position with the school district.