Tennessee Auditors Call Out Tipton County Schools For Irregularities

Tipton County School System officials spent several thousand more taxpayer dollars than county officials allotted them, according to an audit from the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office, released Monday.

School system officials, for instance, spent more than $27,000 on the General Purpose School Fund and on the school’s Federal Projects Fund, according to auditors.

The General Purpose School Fund covered technology support services. The Federal Projects Fund, meanwhile, covered a career and technical education program and support services for health.

“Salaries exceeded appropriations in four of 20 salary line-items of the School Federal Projects Fund by amounts ranging from $307 to $14,863,” auditors wrote.

Auditors said the county commissioners’ budget resolution dictates salaries cannot exceed line-item appropriations commissioners approved.

In a written response to auditors, Tipton County Director of Schools John Combs promised to address and then correct the findings.

No one at the Tipton County School System returned The Tennessee Star’s requests for comment Monday.

County Executive Jeff Huffman, however, told The Star everything is OK with the school system’s finances.

“They had a pretty healthy fund balance at the end of the fiscal year so if they go over they are certainly not supposed to do that,” Huffman said.

“If they spend more than the county commission has legally appropriated then they get written up for it. As far as the actual expenditures they went over, they have a fund balance that exceeded about $18 million in 2017. They have a good bit of money, but at the end of the day it’s an issue of you spending more money than the county commission actually authorized you to spend in that regard.”

Basically, Huffman went on to say, there are different funds for different things at the school system. Certain funds went over budget. Overall, however, the school system still has $18 million left over.

“They have done a good job over the years not spending any more than they had to,” Huffman said.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Justin Wilson” by Tennessee Comptroller of Treasury.
Photo “Tipton County Library” by Tipton County Library.

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