Academic Leadership: The Online Journal


In the early years of 2000, Alabama experienced a series of embarrassing financial incidents in local school districts. In one of the largest districts in the state, an audit discovered the finances were in such disarray that deceased employees continued to be paid, bills went unpaid, and accounts had not been reconciled in so long that no one knew the actual financial status of the school district. In the midst of this financial fiasco, the superintendent and the school board publicly acknowledged that they were not aware of the financial condition of the school system until the situation had deteriorated to the point that the state superintendent had to intervene. In several other districts, a sudden drop in expected revenues resulted in the lack of available funds to pay employees and resulted in school districts hastily making arrangements for bank loans to fund the payroll. Still in other districts, there were incidents of fraud and intentional theft of funds by school employees – most commonly bookkeepers and other employees with access to school funds.