Montgomery County Schools: One Step Closer To Solving The Financial Riddle

On Tuesday evening the Montgomery County Board of Education made some big moves.

We’ve long reported that fired/former superintendent Joshua Powell, with the assistance of Jacqui Johnston, moved school bookkeepers to central office in an attempt to maintain absolute control, voiding safeguards and proper segregation of duties.

So the board shut that down:



Finance, controlled by Johnston, has been in a bit of turmoil the past few months several staffers have come forward to share information off-the-record. While those employees fear retaliation and losing their jobs, none of them want to speak on-the-record. But I’m sure anyone following the Montgomery County Schools saga closely will be fascinated to learn that Angela Rhodes no longer signs off on finance reports — that’s now handled by Candace Hunt, one of the Powell/Johnston inner circle members.

Shortly after the board voted to return bookkeepers to the schools, Johnston was visibly upset. Two finance staffers present conferred with Johnston and stormed out of the meeting. Hint, hint: where there’s smoke there’s fire.

In addition to instituting stronger financial controls, the school board also gave district auditor Artie White the boot.

By a 5-0 vote, the board hired Cloyd & Associates of London, Kentucky to conduct a review of the district’s financials:




FROM THE BOARD MEETING AGENDA


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That sent a shockwave through the district because finances will finally be examined.

In light of Joshua Powell’s claims of having a massive contingency fund — as much as $9.5-$10 million — you can expect the books to get a close examination.

Reality?

Contingency funds in July 2013 — $7,355,181.49:


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April 10, 2015 — $6,163,230.96:


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With next year’s contingency projected to be just $5,532,721.75:


FROM THE DISTRICT’S LATEST BUDGET

That regular decrease in contingency funds is worse than it appears. Each year the district pushed more into the account, as it received more in revenue, and Powell still gutted the fund.

Should be a fun next few months in Montgomery County.