KY state audit finds lack of oversight in Gallatin County school - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

KY state audit finds lack of oversight in Gallatin County schools

(PHOTO: FOX19/ Gordon Graham) (PHOTO: FOX19/ Gordon Graham)
GALLATIN COUNTY, KY (FOX19) - A northern Kentucky school district is close to a $150,000 deficit and community members aren't happy about it.

The Gallatin County board of education meeting was held Tuesday evening at the middle school where parents are looking for answers about the budget shortfall. The community is also upset over the findings of a state audit which has exposed some questionable spending by the district's finance department.

Former finance director, Connie Wainscott, was paid nearly $80,000 a year, which is comparable to her peers in other school districts, but the state auditor also found that Wainscott was paid an additional $26,000 a year not specified in her contract. Wainscott has since retired, but it's left some people in Gallatin County wondering if they got their money's worth.

“Feels like we were robbed a little bit of our education to pay for somebody who didn't know what they were doing,” said Jake Tomlinson, a 2014 graduate of Gallatin High School.

The Kentucky state auditor's report says an outside consultant was hired to assist Wainscott because the Finance Director did not have the expertise to carry out higher level financial and accounting functions.

“We believe that practice would not have been necessary had the district had a properly qualified finance director,” said Stephenie Hoelscher of the auditor's office.

The district's new superintendent, Travis Huber, said he's taking a close look at where the school district's money is going.

“What we really want here in Gallatin County is to focus every dollar that we can on ensuring that students are successful,” Huber said.

School board member, Chad Murray, said it's the students who suffered.“If it's not wrong to take money from our children I don't know what is. Is it on a criminal level, you know, I can't say that somebody needs to go to jail for it or should go to jail, but it's wrong,” said Murray.

Murray plans to ask school board members who approved the consultant to pay back the $23,000 dollars it cost for the state audit.

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