People Still Asking School Board How Budget Shortfall Happened

As the Stephens County Board of Education continues to grapple its budget shortfall, people continue to ask how the school system ended up at this point.

Monday’s Stephens County Board of Education called meeting took place in front of a full meeting room and multiple people asked the Board exactly how this happened.

Stephens County School Superintendent Bryan Dorsey said that while the school system is still waiting for the final Fiscal Year 2013 audit, there are some things that auditors have already pointed out.

“Our books had been balanced on some of the categories since June 2012, things like special revenues and our general books had not been balanced, I want to say based off my memory, since October 2012,” said Dorsey. “These budgets were not being monitored, so when you (the board) were building a budget last year off a reserve fund of $800,000, you went into a $1.6 million shift based off the fact you were operating off of inaccurate information. You were almost in a deficit of almost $800,000.”

Dorsey said that the school system expects to have a written report on that Fiscal Year 2013 audit back from the state later this month.

He said he expects that report to contain at least five major finding areas.

Beyond that, Dorsey said he does not want to speculate too much on what took place when he was not here.

“Right now, there is no sign of criminality,” said Dorsey. “It might suggest there were not some competencies in areas there needed to be.”

Dorsey said that staff will review that and make recommendations once that audit report is in.

Board of Education member Sandra Childs asked Dorsey how the board could be sure it was working with correct numbers now.

In response, Dorsey said that what the Board has now is the best information that staff has to provide at this point.