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Critics say school district audits don't go far enough

Posted: 11:14 PM, Oct 10, 2018
Updated: 2018-10-11 03:14:26Z

The Lee County School District underwent 4 audits over the past couple years, including two mandated by the state.

Although it doesn’t agree with everything in those audits, officials say the district doing the best it can to comply.

A small, but vocal group of demonstrators at Wednesday’s school board meeting urged voters to reject a half penny sales tax on next month’s ballot.

The tax is earmarked for school construction and repairs.

One finding in the 2016-2017 operational audit showed the district spent more than 2-and-a-half million dollars on simply cleaning the school grounds.

But superintendent Dr. Greg Adkins says it was spent on removing mold and flood remediation.

“What we believe is we really need a forensic audit to truly find out what is happening in the district,” said Ft. Myers resident Curt Sheard.

School officials say a forensic audit implies the district was deliberately fudging its books.

Former school district employee Bill Tubb, who is campaigning for the tax says he never saw wasteful spending while he worked there.

“When I was here, if I wanted an office chair, I had to go through about 10 people to get it and I never got it.”

One of the audits criticized the district for using revenue collected from impact fees to pay down school debt.

Impact fees are charged to developers for new construction in the county.

”It has never been in any of our findings in our previous audits, which have been exceptional audits,” said Lee Schools CFO Greg Blurton.

District officials are also disputing criticism of a 15-million-dollar cost over run at the new Bonita Springs high school that opened this year.

They say the numbers were the result of an error in the estimate of how much the school will cost.