McCormick County schools in $2 million deficit

McCormick County schools in $2 million deficit
McCormick County Schools (Source: Miya Payton)


McCormick County schools in $2 million deficit

McCormick County schools have been dealing with a deficit for more than 3 years, totaling around $2 million. I sat down with McCormick County Superintendent Betty Bagley. She tells me its going to take years for the district to recover.

“This is the public’s money and you have to account for everything." Betty Bagley took over McCormick schools seven months ago. She says the district’s financial problems go back three years. They weren’t discovered until she started digging. “And you have to have a paper trail to everything, rhyme and reason to everything, and I’m used to that.”

Why has it taken you being in this interim position to bring it all to light? Interim Superintendent Betty Bagley says, “I don’t know... I don’t know.”

Bagley says in order to transform McCormick County Schools, there has to be transparency. She says in 2016-2017 there was a $800,000 deficit, $13,000 for 2017-2018 and this past budget, almost $1 million; with a total of almost $2 million in the last 3 years.

McCormick County Schools Budget Deficit:

  • 2016-2017: $800,000
  • 2017-2018: $13,000
  • 2018-2019: $996,000

Those numbers have parents asking questions. Letwishay Franklin is shocked. Her daughter will go to McCormick Schools next year. “How long has this been going on Where are those funds? Who is accountable?”

The McCormick schools have had a number of changes in leadership; 6 superintendents in just 8 years. “It matters. You’ve got to have continuity in leadership and you got to have protocols developed, procedures developed, follow them and not change them every time somebody new comes in,” says Bagley.

The County Council Chairman Charles Jennings is concerned over the large deficit. He says they trusted those school leaders. “We didn’t have no reason hold the school accountable, checking or double checking their figures, we took them at their word.”

Bagley says says the school district system is working to rebuild trust by monitoring the budget and bank statements weekly and freezing expenses outside of payroll and bills. “Have faith in us I know that we will always tell the truth and we’re going to be transparent and sometimes you got to tell the good the bad and the ugly in order to move forward.”

The 2018-2019 deficit has been taken out of the school districts reserved funds, which currently has $1.2 million left in it; just barely more than what the state requires.

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