State will withhold $2.1 million from local School District

Because the School District gave the state incorrect numbers and other faulty information over the past several years, the Florida Department of Education has decided to withhold $2.1 million from the support it provides annually to Indian River County schools.

The state auditor found the School District claimed to be transporting 117 more students on school buses in 2015-2016 than actually was the case, resulting in decision to withhold  approximately $625,000 in state funds, according to a presentation given by Assistant Superintendent of Finance Carter Morrison during budget workshops.

“Noncompliance related to student transportation resulted in 10 [negative audit] findings and a proposed net adjustment of negative 117 students,” the Auditor General’s report states.

A second loss of state money was related to career tech education.

For two years in a row, in 2015 and 2016, the Auditor General chided the district for not expending its adult career tech or “Workforce Education Programs” funding, and for having no plan for the money provided by the state.

Morrison said the most recent audit findings regarding the district’s failure to follow guidelines in the use of the adult career tech money resulted in a $1.5 million cut in state funds. As a result, local tax dollars will be used to pay for the new adult technical college adjacent to Gifford Middle School instead of “Workforce Development” funds the state would have provided.

School Board members did not ask any questions about the loss of more than $2 million in state funds, and did not respond to a request for comment.

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