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Auditor's office was investigating AISU prior to Dougall's appointment as school's director

FILE - The American International School of Utah in Murray is pictured on Friday, May 3, 2019. The now-shuttered American International School of Utah has until Wednesday to repay more than $400,000 in special education funds to the State School Board, bu
The American International School of Utah in Murray is pictured on Friday, May 3, 2019.
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Even before State Auditor John Dougall's appointment as interim executive director of the shuttered American International School of Utah, his office had launched an investigation into the public charter school's financial issues, according to a statement released by his office Wednesday.

The brief statement says, in part: "The Office of the State Auditor had previously begun an investigation into the financial situation at AISU and had issued administrative subpoenas before Tuesday’s action by the State Charter School Board."

The formal investigation began last week, according to spokeswoman Nicole Toomey Davis.

The State Charter School Board voted Tuesday to remove Tasi Young, the school's executive director, and appoint Dougall to oversee the school's closure activities.

AISU's board of directors voted in May to close the school amid growing concern about the school's financial viability and questions over the use of state and federal special education funds during in the 2016, 2017 and 2018 fiscal years, among other issues.

The statement notes that Dougall will continue with his regular duties as state auditor "while overseeing the wind down of AISU, with the focus on protecting taxpayer funds."

Young was executive director of the school for the past academic year.

Young told the State Charter School Board that eight months ago, the school appeared to be on a course correction after earlier problems with record keeping and operating at a deficit.

"It seemed like AISU was … making strong progress and then relatively quickly we became aware of other things, other findings, and it became devastating to us. There were financial obligations that caused the school to eventually close," Young said Tuesday.

In December 2018, the Utah State Charter School Board placed AISU on warning status. It is a formal action taken by the board after a school has not resolved deficiencies previously identified by regulators.