Bradenton, Florida -- The new superintendent of the Manatee County School District is calling on the state Inspector General's Office to conduct an investigation into the financial practices and activities of the former leadership team.
In his letter to Inspector General Mike Blackburn, Superintendent Rick Mills says while he understood there were financial problems when he took over the position, he was "ultimately shocked by the sheer scope and magnitude of financial errors, neglect, incompetence, malfeasance and misfeasance uncovered in subsequent months as [he] built a new senior leadership team."
Superintendent Mills reported that between 2010 and 2012 the Manatee School District:
- Failed to meet its state-required fund balance for five-consecutive years.
- Was the only district in the state that failed to post a balanced budget for two consecutive years.
- Overspent its budget by about $4.5 million during 2011-2012 school year and by about $8.5 million during the 2012-2013 school year, resulting in a two-year spending deficit of close to $13 million.
- Overspent its budget by more than $38 million over the last five years.
- Had regularly scheduled audits for the 2012-2013 school year that resulted in 44 findings amounting to over $10 million in questionable costs and potential penalties.
Mills tells the inspector he wants the investigation so those involved will be held accountable for their "catastrophic actions."
Mills says he feels confident his leadership team currently in place will bring the Manatee School District back to a state of financial health and has implemented a Fiscal Recovery Plan and they are projecting a balanced budget for the upcoming school year.
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