Anniston City Council members said Tuesday they should not give any of a $100,000 supplement to the Anniston school board until an audit for the district is released.
The council did not vote on the matter, but each of the members agreed with the requirement in a work session as they discussed the city’s budget and their concerns about the school system’s financial leadership.
City leaders have for months been waiting for an audit from the school district so the city can complete its own audit. School officials said last month that the audit was delayed because of turnover at the auditing firm. But city officials on Tuesday said they’d been told the firm needs to return to do more field work.
City Manager Jay Johnson told the council that after the city’s budget presentation on Aug. 21 — when the $100,000 allocation was made — he sent a request to Superintendent Darren Douthitt for plans on how the money would be spent.
“Has he responded?” Councilman Ben Little asked.
“No, sir,” Johnson said.
“It’s unbelievable to me that they haven’t given a formal proposal,” Little said.
Johnson said school officials recently requested money for a third police officer to patrol the schools, and that the school board will hold its first budget meeting Thursday.
The Star’s efforts to reach Douthitt were unsuccessful Tuesday evening.
The council on Tuesday also learned that most of the $340,000 education supplement the city gave the school board last year has not been used. Johnson said the board last week sent him a request for $170,000 to go toward the district’s technology program.
“Do y’all know how much we fought over that $350,000?” Councilman David Reddick said about the previous year’s education supplement. “We quit talking to each other for three months after that, and it’s still sitting in our bank account.”
Little said school leaders should provide a plan for spending the $100,000 as well as an account of how the district’s one-month operating reserve fell sharply over the last year.
Assistant Metro Editor Daniel Gaddy: 256-235-3560. On Twitter: @DGaddy_Star.