More Details: Audit Shows $700,000 Missing from Montgomery Public Schools

As Alabama News Network was first to report on Sunday, an audit shows more than $700,000 is missing from Montgomery Public Schools.

The details of that 106-page audit, which spans from October 2017 to September 2018, show several employees spent public funds to make purchases at a gentlemen’s club, a bar, for online gaming, video sites and more.

Among the audit’s findings:

Walter James, the former assistant principal of Jefferson Davis High School, is accused of mishandling 330,060.15.

The audit found that many of the invoices submitted for goods and services paid on behalf of the school were questionable. The audit revealed  “the School was paying certain vendors for services based upon invoices that had different addresses than the purchase orders and that were also different from the addresses on file for the vendors at the School. The addresses were investigated and were found to be for different apartment buildings, other seemingly unrelated businesses, a rented mailbox at a UPS Store, or did not exist at all”.

One of the vendors was his spouse who “was paid, according to the purchase orders, for shirts for staff and students. The invoices submitted to the School for payment appeared to be printed from the same template as the ones for the other vendors in question” according to audit documents.

Marsha Baugh, former career technical director for the school system used $$177, 325.07 to send her two children to college at Auburn, AUM and Wallace Community College. The audit shows payments were made from a scholarship fund at Brewbaker  Technology Magnet High School while she was assistant principal there. The benefactor of the scholarship was Baugh’s mother. “No documentation was on file to substantiate the Director’s children as scholarship recipients “, according to the audit.

$45,908.72 of the missing money is linked to Chauncy Shines, the former athletic director at Brewbaker.  He is accused of using a debit card to rack up more than $5,000 in purchases, “expenditures included purchases made at a gentleman’s club, a local bar, online gaming sites…” according to the audit.

James Jackson, the former head basketball coach at Carver High School is accused of depositing $13,000  from an account that should have been used for the basketball team  directly to his personal account, and spent an additional $10,000 on purchases at a liquor store, on car rentals a pet store and more. In total, the audit lists Jackson is responsible for misusing $76,975.43.

Michael Walker, JROTC Sponsor at Carver High School, is charged with $70,973.29 of the missing money, though the audit shows that  $26,660.37 of the money was “relieved by Chief Examiner”, likely after presenting proper documentation for the sum.

Th remaining $2,045 is attributed to Gary Hall, principal at Carver High School. Hall spent $15,290 on championship rings and pendants for the schools 2018 state basketball title. “However, the school only collected $13,245.00 in payments and donations” to cover the costs. The audit says it is “unallowable” to pay for the rings and pendants out of public funds. According to MPS spokesperson Scott Johnson,  Hall did not know the public funds could not be used for the rings, and confirmed that Hall has since paid the money back.

Most of the accused have resigned from their positions with MPS, have been ordered to pay the money back and could also face criminal charges.  Walker is on administrative leave and “additional disciplinary actions are being recommended”, the audit states. Hall is still employed as principal at Carver High School.***

*** This article previously reported that Gary Hall was also on administrative leave, An MPS spokesperson confirmed that Hall has not faced any disciplinary action.


Categories: Montgomery, News