Money missing from school system; teachers lose their jobs

Money missing from school system; teachers lose their jobs

(WMC-TV) - James Garrett is a newcomer to the Fayette County School Board, and he says he is concerned about the system's finances.

The system is in a budget deficit because of increased fuel costs and a pay raise given to teachers.

"There was a cash balance in the account spent last year and there's been a number of questions about how the funds were used," Garrett said.

The school system fired nine teachers this school year.

Garrett said there was more than $1 million in a cash balance at the beginning of last year.

At the beginning of this year, there was less than $200,000 in that same account.

Now, Garrett and others are looking at where the money went.

"Our allocation for the 2012 to 2013 school year budget that was given to us by the county commission was less than what we asked for and the easiest way to make up loses in revenue is to reduce teacher positions," he added.

Garrett said the decision to eliminate teacher positions was a difficult one to make.

Despite academic successes, Garrett said there should be a better system of checks and balances when it comes to the system's money.

"At what point did you know something was off? Was it happening through the year or at the end of the year?" Garrett asked.

The state has now stepped in and is currently auditing the school system.

The results of that audit should be available in a few weeks.

The district attorney is also waiting to find out what is in the audit to determine if there should be criminal charges.

Action News Five's call to Fayette County School Superintendent James Teague was not returned.

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