Johnston County school board member alleges ‘corruption and deception’ in $8.8M budget shortfall

Johnston County News

SMITHFIELD, N.C. (WNCN) — The Johnston County School Board met Tuesday for the final time this year. 

They selected a new chairman, Todd Sutton to replace Michael Wooten. 
Despite the lengthy agenda, there was little mention of a more pressing matter — a nearly $9 million budget shortfall. 

“A mismanagement of taxpayer funds and a misrepresentation of taxpayer funds constitutes some type of investigation,” Ronald Johnson, a school board member said.

Johnson alleges corruption and deception were involved. 

“As far as I know, nothings been proven that anything, there’s no corruption, there’s no incompetence,” Wooten said.

The former chairman responded to questions about the deficit.

“It’s hard to plan when as you grow as much as we’re growing every year it’s hard to plan for all the funding that we need for Johnston County,” he said.

Wooten points out they’ve already cut $10 million from the budget. They’ve asked the county to make up for the rest. 

On Monday, the interim superintendent Dr. Jim Causby sent out an email to parents. Causby said students have been behind several recent racially and politically insensitive acts. 

“It’s just a trend that we don’t want to see continue and we’re trying to handle in a positive way,” Causby said.

Causby writes in the letter the actions were addressed with consequences. 

The interim superintendent said he’s planning a few community forums and additional equity training.

As for the budget shortfall, the Board of Education said they’re cautiously optimistic the county will be able and willing to help.

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