To deal with a multi-million dollar shortfall, the Charleston County School District Board voted for a forensic audit of payroll and Human Resources to see how an $18 million error was made.
Wednesday, the board voted for a forensic audit of budgets from the previous three years. The district superintendent told News 2 it will help identify how the budget got so far off track.
The shortfall is from less property tax revenue than excepted and an increase in salaries and benefits for staff. The tax revenue was more than $9 million short, and total expenses were nearly $9 million over budget.
The superintendent says there is no reason to believe any crime was committed, but the decision for a forensic audit protects everyone involved. She says she hopes the in-depth audit will also provide answers to community.
The superintendent says by acting swiftly, it doesn’t appear there will be any layoffs or furloughs, but the district has enacted several measures to regain control of the budget.
Those measures include:
- Cutting travel
- Cutting Overtime
- Positioning staff so substitutes aren’t needed
- Freezing all hiring
The board also asked the superintendent to present plans for validating the current budget, implementing stricter budget accountability, and putting in place a process for long-term financial planning.
An internal audit will be released in November. The outside audit is expected to be complete in the first quarter of next year.