Report: 'Lack of accountability' in $18 million CCSD budget shortfall

Report: 'Lack of accountability' in $18 million CCSD budget shortfall

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Superintendent of Schools Gerrita Postelwait says there was a "lack of accountability" among other factors that led the Charleston County School District to an $18 million budget shortfall.

In a preliminary financial update to the CCSD Board of Trustees, Postelwait said there is "evidence of a lack of accountability, ownership and discipline for staying within the budget."

Postelwait's report states the district overspent in various areas including teachers and aides for special needs students, additional teachers due to increased student enrollment, and additional payments to charter schools.

The report also listed inadequate communication as a factor that led to the shortfall, citing board members who felt they did not receive "accurate and timely information throughout the fiscal year."

The district spent $8.7 million over budget and over estimated expected revenue by $9.3 million dollars.

The district had projected only getting 500 new students, but ended up getting 1,100, which forced them to hire more teachers. The district also changed their payroll process but overlooked one pay period totaling millions of dollars.

Postlewait also reported that the health insurance premiums the district had to pay were higher than anticipated, and the district was fined $500,000 by the IRS for filing W-2s late.

More issues may be added after a forensic audit by a third party is completed.

Postlewait just started the job and she's faced with the task of digging into last year's books to make sure what happened last year doesn't happen on her watch.

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