Roane County School System officials took nearly $80,000 of taxpayer money to create a new position for their Career and Technical Education program even though it was not budgeted, and county commissioners did not approve it.
Tennessee Comptrollers are not happy.
This, according to an audit Comptrollers just released.
“Expenditures exceeded appropriations approved by the county commission in the Career and Technical Education Program major appropriation category (the legal level of control) of the General Purpose School Fund by $77,506. This deficiency was the result of the School Department creating a new CTE Counselor position that was not included in the original budget approved by the county commission,” Comptrollers said in their audit.
“This new position and the corresponding budget amendments were approved by the School Board at four different meetings during the fiscal year, and the School Board presented these budget amendments on four occasions to the county commission. However, on each occasion, the budget amendments were not approved by the county commission.”
In a written response, Director of Schools LaDonna McFall (pictured above) said permission was not needed.
“It should be noted that additional revenue or use of fund balance was not needed as we used savings in other expenditure categories to add the position and therefore did not increase overall appropriations. We submitted budget amendments several times in accordance with state statutes and local procedures to correct this and the county commission failed to approve. Our budget amendment did not require additional funding and was within the total appropriations set by the county commission,” McFall wrote.
“The Roane County Board of Education and Director of Schools reserve the right and has the duty as outlined in state statute to run the school system, as they deem appropriate. The Roane County Board of Education and Director of Schools will not allow the Roane County Commission to exert line item control over the School System’s budget or influence who the school system hires as the county commission does not have that authority under state statute.”
But Comptrollers cited Tennessee law, which said “county legislative bodies” must approve this money, regardless.
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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Kingston, Roane County” by Brian Stansberry CC4.0 and “LaDonna McFall” is by LaDonna McFall.