According to a new report by Ty Tagami at the AJC, DeKalb is among several school systems in Georgia showing a budget deficit.
Well, actually, DeKalb’s deficit is greater than three times the rest combined!
And worse, apparently, our board chair thought we had a surplus!
District officials did not return calls for comment, but DeKalb school board Chairman Eugene Walker questioned the state’s findings.
“I don’t understand what you mean that we had a deficit,” Walker said, adding he thought there was a surplus. “So the $57 million I thought we had didn’t exist?”
The deficit was calculated from numbers the DeKalb system provided to the state, Austensen said. “In theory, it could be wrong, but if it’s wrong, they’re out of compliance with their reporting.”
Austensen said a history of inaccurate financial reporting appeared to be part of DeKalb’s problem.
“I actually think the local board didn’t have good information in front of them about their spending,” he said.
DeKalb school Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson, in the job about a year, is trying to change that, he said, but prior administrations painted a rosier picture than merited.
“By now, everybody should have figured it out,” Austensen said. “It’s not like a tiny little system that has a bookkeeper who doesn’t know anything about accounting.”