Local News

Financial Woes Keep Halifax Schools Under Microscope

Posted November 1, 2007 7:15 p.m. EDT
Updated November 1, 2007 7:58 p.m. EDT

— The state Department of Public Instruction has been keeping the Halifax County school system under a microscope.

As of Thursday, the school system owed the state $841,000 despite a $280,000 advance from Halifax County. The money that’s owed will have to come locally from taxpayers.

DPI sent a representative to monitor the schools' finances after the system let go of Finance Director James Sweet.

“It’s embarrassing for Halifax County,” said Gene Minton, vice chairman of the Halifax County Commissioners. “I hate to think that once again we have to go deeper into our pockets to come up with money to pay for things that were not budgeted.”

Paul LeSieur, DPI’s director of school business services, said he didn’t see any financial management going on at Halifax County Schools.

“With overspending for two years, it means that checks were being written without the general statutes being followed,” LeSieur said.

The state scolded the school board to keep in closer contact with auditors. Commissioners questioned why board members have not kept them more in the loop.

“As an elected official, I understand what a budget is about, and I don’t see how any elected group of officials can … there is no explanation for how it disappears.”

An explanation could come after a state audit is completed sometime in November.