Fulton Independent Schools asks FBI to investigate unaccounted $1.1 million in school funds

Published 11:04 am Tuesday, January 16, 2024

The FBI has been asked to investigate $1.1 million that is unaccounted for in the Fulton Independent School District.

Jeff Rogers, who was hired as superintendent in May, said the district is cooperating with multiple investigations which include the FBI, Kentucky Department of Education and two insurance companies. Rogers reported the investigation is focusing on two former district employees who are now retired.

“We started noticing a great deal of accounting anomalies that caused a lot of concern,” Rogers said. “As we started to look through things, we quickly realized that these things were beyond our scope. At that point in time, I took it to local law enforcement … (who have since turned it over to the FBI).”

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An independent audit in 2023 noted inadequate financial controls and a large discrepancy between the beginning balance of the 2023-24 budget and the actual amount of funds available. Rogers said district financial documents indicated there would be a $1.5 million carryover, but that amount was actually less than half a million dollars.

“We were in a situation where, if we did not do something, we were not going to be able to make it through the calendar year in terms of meeting payroll,” said Rogers, who was principal for a year at Fulton High School before named as superintendent. “We’ve looked for different ways to cut. Anything that would not impact students or student learning, we’ve really just kind of tightened the belt on.” He went on to say that spending cuts have resulted in “significant savings.”

Following the audit, the school district has worked with the state Board of Education to start a “corrective action plan” to alleviate future financial concerns. That plan includes compliance with the model procurement law that dictates how the system makes bids and purchase and puts new purchase order procedures in place.