DeKalb schools fail to collect millions in fed funds



DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - Channel 2 Action News has uncovered a costly mistake by the DeKalb County School district. 

Officials with the State Board of Education confirmed to Channel 2's Erica Byfield that DeKalb Schools failed to collect $2 million in federal stimulus funds. 

It is unclear how the district planned to spend the money.

Byfield reported this development on the same day DeKalb Schools' new board members met for the first time.

In recent weeks Channel 2 has reported on the controversy that led Gov. Nathan Deal to suspend six veteran DeKalb board members.

The current board members have a list of items they must address, including whether to remove the district from a lawsuit the suspended board members filed in an effort to keep their positions.  Up until now, taxpayers have footed the bill for the legal costs associated with the suit.

DeKalb residents Byfield spoke to about the $2 million the school system failed to collect were upset.

"I want to know who was responsible for this and have them to be removed from office," said Jill Walsh.

"Why didn't they accept the money?" asked Debra Stokes.

DeKalb school's Interim Superintendent Michael Thurmond told Byfield the failure to collect the money occurred a few years ago.

"Just over the last five years, I don't know of any money lost in the short term," said Thurmond.

He added he found out the position in charge of ensuring DeKalb schools collects all federal and state money was vacant when he assumed the role of superintendent a little more than 30 days ago.

A district spokesperson said grant analyst position was filled this week.  The spokesperson did not know how long the position had been vacant.