Johnston County Schools board member says corruption is behind district’s $9M deficit

Johnston County News

SMITHFIELD, N.C. (WNCN) – Johnston County Public Schools are facing a deficit of nearly $9 million and at least one school board member says corruption and a cover-up are to blame.

Some of the allegations go back as far as June 2019 and school board member Ronald Johnson is consulting with a lawyer to consider the best way to move forward.

“They should be concerned with the school system right now,” said Johnson.

That was Johnson’s message to parents after the December school board meeting.

He says there are some things he wants to make crystal clear heading into 2020.

“Myself, along two other board members, were made aware by Dr. Causby that the people in charge of our finances had purposefully lied to use at the direction of a supervisor,” said Johnson.

Johnson said he immediately asked for a forensic audit of district finances after that October meeting.

Three months later Johnson, along with many concerned parents, are still waiting on the district to take action.

“There’s still no forensic audit,” said Anita Bland. “We still don’t have detailed financials although they’ve been requested for months.”

“I think that a mismanagement of taxpayer funds, and a misrepresentation of taxpayer funds, constitutes some type of investigation,” said Johnson.

“Our audits show very clean decision,” said Interim Superintendent Jim Causby. “They show nothing illegal, or anything that’s been done otherwise. There may be other evidence if someone comes in otherwise. I haven’t found anything that was done illegal or incorrectly.”

The school district is now asking Johnston County Commissioners for a bailout of nearly $9 million but Anita Bland said taxpayers deserve to know where the money is going first.

“It’s a catch-22 because the schools need the money, but we have a little time,” said Bland. “We’re not going to run out of money until April. I think we need some accountability here. We need to get some answers.”

Johnston County School Board Chairman Todd Sutton has called a news conference for Thursday to respond to the allegations.

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