"The superintendent and the finance director engaged in a course of conduct
designed to mislead the school board and the public
with respect to the health of the district's financial position."
--FCPS Bord member Doug Barnett
This from Valarie Honeycutt Spears at the Herald-Leader:
Fayette County Public Schools board chairman John Price said he thinks Tom Shelton can continue to lead the district even though the state auditor released a scathing examination of the district on Wednesday morning.
The Kentucky Auditor Adam Edelen's examination of Fayette County Public Schools found "chronic mismanagement" of the district's finances, but Price said the main thing is that there was no embezzlement or criminal wrongdoing. He also said that district officials were intentionally spending down the district's fund balance.
Both Shelton and Price are certified public accountants, but he said he didn't think he or Shelton had to check the math when handed working budgets and financial statements by district officials. Price said the district had outside auditors, and he thought Shelton had been working on the budget problems before the state's audit.
Board member Doug Barnett didn't share that sentiment. Shortly after Edelen released his findings, Barnett said that Shelton had "failed miserably."
Barnett said that at this point, he would not vote to renew Shelton's contract which ends in June 2015.
Board member Amanda Ferguson said she had serious concerns about Shelton's ability to continue as Superintendent.
Shelton has been superintendent since 2011.
"The superintendent and the finance director engaged in a course of conduct designed to mislead the school board and the public with respect to the health of the district's financial position," Barnett said. "High-ranking, highly paid administrators engaged in conduct designed merely to benefit themselves at the expense of our kids, particularly our kids mired in poverty."
Barnett said budget director Julane Mullins was "brave" to publicly make allegations that led to Edelen's audit. Mullins — who has worked in the district's budget office for 16 years, including 10 as the director — sent an email to the board, and Edelen, containing several allegations, including that the district's current $20 million shortfall was caused by irregular accounting but worsened with "numerous acts of mismanagement." At the time, Shelton denied those allegations, and he maintained that position Wednesday.
Barnett said Shelton was paid "handsomely," and when the budget process is flawed, "that's ultimately on the superintendent."
As for the budget department and the financial services division, Price said, "We certainly have to reorganize how those departments work."