Audit raises questions about DeKalb Schools financial management

Updated:

An audit shows the salary expense for the DeKalb school district’s central office from 2010 to 2011 exceeded the budget by more than $20 million. At the same time, parents saw their taxes and student class sizes go up.

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - A new audit is shedding light on what may have led to the DeKalb County school district's surprising budget shortfall.

The district’s superintendent is presenting that audit to the school board at a Monday evening meeting, but Channel 2 received an advance copy from a source earlier in the day.

According to the audit’s findings, the salary expense for the district’s central office from 2010 to 2011 exceeded the budget by more than $20 million. At the same time, parents saw their taxes and student class sizes go up.

“They’ve got to find out where it's going, because somebody had to approve for the money to be coming from the budget. They had to approve it somewhere," taxpayer Cora Davis told Channel 2’s Aaron Diamant.

In 2010, the Board of Education approved cutting 150 central office jobs to save $11.5 million, but at this point, no one knows how many people and positions were actually cut. The finance department told auditors there were 148 cuts, while human resources only reported 109.
 
"They should already know these answers. They should already have this stuff in line. Why can't they get it together?" another taxpayer, Krizia Williams, said.

Not only did the departments’ “reduction in force” lists not match up, but auditors also found the district used an inflated average salary to calculate the total savings from those original 150 cuts approved by the board. Auditors believe the district over-estimated by more than $1.8 million.

The audit also found policies not being followed and it raised questions about cash being moved between accounts.

Channel 2 reached out to district officials for a response, but they declined to comment.

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