Widespread problems uncovered in Holmes County School District audit

Published 10:46 am Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Press release from Office of the State Auditor

JACKSON, Miss. – Taxpayers in Holmes County footed the bill for an “adults only,” “B.Y.O.B.” party and overpaid a former district superintendent by thousands of dollars. These findings and others come as part of a routine audit by the Office of State Auditor Shad White.

“This audit reveals widespread problems,” said Auditor White. “The public school students of Holmes County and the taxpayers are the victims here. As a product of public schools myself, my office remains committed to uncovering and stopping this sort of misspending.”

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Notable findings from the audit include:

  • The district paid over $4,200 for a party to celebrate the passage of a bond issue that Holmes County voters ultimately voted to reject. The event was described as a “parent’s celebration” and “adults only,” “B.Y.O.B.”
  • The district paid a former superintendent a $170,000 in salary in Fiscal Years 2019 and 2020 even though the school board voted to pay him a $160,000 salary. The district also paid the former superintendent for relocation expenses in excess of the amount allowed by state law.
  • Auditors identified payments made to companies owned by the former superintendent’s relatives. These purchases totaled $14,000. This issue will be forwarded to the Mississippi Ethics Commission.
  • A credit card was used without school board authorization. Auditors identified 22 purchases made with this card without any itemized receipts. This matter – worth over $12,000 – has been forwarded to the Auditor’s Investigations Division.

Read the full report here.