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Final report in on Crockett funds discrepancy

By SERINA MARSHALL
Staff Writer [email protected]

David Crockett High School found it- self at the center of an investigation after funds were unaccounted for following a field trip last year.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Treasury conducted an investigation of selected records of David Crockett High School after Washington County Board of Education Officials reported question- able transactions.

The investigation was limited to selected records from February 1, 2020, through July 31, 2021. The results of the investigation were communicated with the Office of the District Attorney General of the 1st Judicial District.

“Now that the results have been turned over to the District Attorney, they will decide if they will be pursuing any criminal action against the teacher, whose name has not been released,” said John Dunn, director of communications for the Office of the Comptroller of the Treasury. “The field trip funds of $1,514.85 were given to the agriculture teacher in December of 2020, which was odd since the trip wouldn’t be taking place until October of the following year 2021.”

Due to the ongoing investigation, officials declined to provide the identity of the teacher involved.

According to officials with the treasury, the teacher used his personal credit card to pay for the lodging in advance, however, the vendor only drafted a portion of the estimat- ed lodging expenses totaling $429.26. This left the unused portion of the travel advance paid to the teacher, totaling $1,085.59 ($1,514.85 less $429.26). Subsequently, school officials received documentation from the vendor indicat- ing the teacher had only paid a portion ($429.26) of the es- timated lodging expenses and David Crockett High School requested the teacher provide them an invoice.

The treasury explained that around February 1, 2021, the teacher submitted an altered invoice to school officials in an attempt to conceal the unused portion of the travel ad- vance. On February 5, 2021, the teacher reimbursed Crock- ett the amount of unused travel advance totaling $1,085.59.

“The school investigated the funds and asked the teacher about the erroneous invoice he had given them,” Dunn continued. “Four days later, the teacher reimbursed the unused funds back to the school.”

In August 2021, the teacher admitted to investigators that he altered the original lodging invoice to agree with the amount of Crockett travel advance. However, the fab- ricated invoice ($1,524.82) reflected a different total cost than the amount of the travel advance ($1,514.85) paid
to the teacher. The teacher stated he had no intention of taking school funds for his personal gain.

Dunn also noted that no charges have been filed yet; however, the district attorney is handling the next steps. And according to Washington County Superintendent Jerry Boyd, the report was final and conclusive.

“When the report came out last school year, we certainly as a school system wanted to cooperate and comply with the investigation to identify the problem and take steps to address it, including training and adverse action,” Boyd said. “We want to take this time to understand, identify, address and continue to be stewards of public dollars, so we don’t have this situation again in the future. We never wanted this decision to be made, but we did want to ad- dress it quickly and with clarity and training support, so it is not repeated. I am thankful for the comptroller and the diligence and support of the public’s dollars spent in the way they are supposed to be spent.”