BOE to revisit state comptroller finding

Published 12:24 pm Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Claiborne County Board of Education tabled for one month an issue that was brought to its attention via findings from an audit conducted by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office. Apparently, former school director Connie Holdway was paid $7,000 in Tennessee Department of Education (TDE) CEO supplemental funds to attend personal development training classes during the seven years in which she was director. Now the board is scrambling to find appropriate documentation to uphold the payout.

School board member Shane Bunch said during the meeting last week that documentation showing completion of each of the ten classes per year would need to be turned in to the state for its approval.

“We, in turn, receive that money from the state and then we give that to the director each year. I don’t know if we’ve seen any money or seen any (documentation of the) personal development classes Connie (Holdway) completed in those seven years.

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“Did we already pay her $7,000? Did we vote on that item in a public board meeting,” said Bunch.

Board chairman Micheal Jo Gray said the comptroller findings show that the item was never presented for vote during a meeting.

Bunch explained his take on the issue.

“I think where we made our mistake — and, I say ‘our’ — is that when we were in that meeting at the central office, it was an assumption that, if she was a director for a year, she got a thousand dollars. Now, that wasn’t the case.

“Where we jumped the gun at, is when we went ahead and gave her $7,000 without finding out why you get the thousand dollars per year, and the hoops you have to jump in to get it,” said Bunch.

Vice-chairman Shannon England said she agreed with Bunch.

“I do think that, based on that meeting, the way it was presented to us was, it was an automatic thousand dollars,” said England.

Board member Linda Fultz questioned whether Angelia Tucker, Claiborne school finance officer, had checked on the necessary documentation prior to relinquishing the funds to Holdway.

Bunch asked whether there was a way to ensure Holdway had attended the classes.

Dr. Joseph Miller, director of schools, said the matter could be researched. The results are expected to be brought back during the next board meeting.

The state comptroller audit also showed a problem with the adopted resolution amending retirement incentives. The comptroller found that, although the new requirements for eligibility were discussed and approved during a board meeting, the requirements were inadvertently omitted from the document.

The board unanimously approved the motion to correct this deficiency by adding the information to the meeting minutes.

The next school board meeting will begin at 6 p.m. on Feb. 8, at Claiborne High School. The next school board committee meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. on Jan. 25, at the BOE Central Office.

The public is encouraged to attend these monthly meetings, which are held each second and fourth Thursday of each month, unless otherwise rescheduled.