Big Problems Reportedly Found with Metro Nashville Public Schools’ Spending

Shawn Joseph
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There are reportedly problems with the Metro Nashville Public Schools’ spending habits, according to Nashville Public Radio.

“Last month, the district claimed victory when an audit found most allegations about its vendor contracts were ‘unsubstantiated.’ But those findings have been clarified in a revised audit,” according to Nashville Public Radio.

“Now using different language, Metro Auditor Mark Swann says district leaders made mistakes. They failed to use a competitive process in picking some vendors and paid more money than contractually allowed to two companies. All told, instead of two critical findings, the auditor now notes nine.”

Metro Nashville Council member Bob Mendes, who serves on the Metro Audit Committee, reportedly wanted the auditor to clarify the initial work because the prior report repeatedly used the word “unsubstantiated,” even when there was evidence of policy violations.

“So now it’s clarified: Schools Director Shawn Joseph and his top staff were not found to have intentionally circumvented rules about procurement; nor did they commit fraud,” according to Nashville Public Radio.

“But they did break policies.”

As reported last month, The Nashville-based NewsChannel 5, quoting a confidential report, said the school system, under Schools Director Shawn Joseph “faces seriously low morale and other issues that threaten the district’s ability to keep qualified employees.”

“The 11-page report, prepared by the Nashville law firm of Bone McAllester Norton, also warns that a key Human Resources official hired by Joseph is viewed as ‘extremely divisive, dismissive and, in their belief, incompetent,’” the station quoted the report as saying.

“It suggests Sharon Pertiller either be terminated, transferred or retrained.”

The law firm, according to the station, says its investigation encountered “nearly unanimous expression of over-arching concern regarding lack of communication from the highest levels of administration.”

“If these issues regarding communication are not resolved, it will be difficult, if not impossible, for the district to retain qualified and exemplary employees,” the station quoted members of the firm as saying.

According to the station, one passage of the report tells of a meeting between Joseph and principals who wanted to meet with him “to discuss hiring and communications issues.”

“Joseph demanded that the principals ‘turn off their cell phones and other electronic devices,’ apparently so the meeting could not be recorded, the station said, quoting the report.

Joseph refused a copy of typewritten notes, NewsChannel 5 reported.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Shawn Joseph” by Tennessee State University. 









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One Thought to “Big Problems Reportedly Found with Metro Nashville Public Schools’ Spending”

  1. Rick

    Every time I see his photo with an article like this it’s like he is giving everyone the middle finger. Metro schools are the lowest test score system in Tennessee. When you hire a circuit riding supt you get someone who has outwardly the correct verbal expressive interest in the schools but, a no show on the personal leadership or the correct directional interest of the schools or it appears anything else other that their own self interest.