School Board Argues Over Audit Cost
An internal audit of the Bibb County school system originally slated to cost $90,000 has risen to over $400,000.
Some school board members say they should have been better informed of the inflating cost of the audit while others, including board President Tommy Barnes and Superintendent Romain Dallemand, say it was the board's decision to continue the audit.
"My question is, how did a $90,000 audit turn into an audit that by the time we finish the work in September could easily cost half-a-million dollars?" asks Susan Sipe, a member of the Bibb County school board.
"On March 15, we said go deep. Go very deep. We want you to uncover all these things. We didn't set a limit on them but we had a unanimous vote to do it," says Tommy Barnes, school board President.
"Because we were left under the impression based on the e-mail in December that is was $90,000," says Gary Bechtel, board member.
"The board had that conversation with McGladrey and the board voted 8-0 to move forward with a phase two audit," says Dr. Romain Dallemand, Superintendent.
Phase two was primarily an audit of board member e-mails that listed possible policy violations by board members Gary Bechtel and Susan Sipe.
At Thursday's meeting Bechtel and Sipe voted against cutting dental coverage to teachers and against increasing the price of school lunch. They say that the board cannot justify cost cutting measures after the substantial price of the audit.