"Egregious," "inexcusable," "corrupt" were all words used to describe the Pulaski County Special School board's spending habits. The strong language came during a legislative joint auditing committee hearing
. The subject was a May audit that accused the board of misusing nearly half-a-million-dollars.
You've probably heard of teachers getting apples from students as a sign of appreciation. There were no apples for the PCSSD board during Friday morning's meeting at the capitol. It was more like detention.
"Almost 90 percent of it has been corrupt," says Pulaski County Special School Board President Tim Clark describing everything "he's seen" in his two years in the district.
There were strong remarks at the legislative joint auditing committee meeting.
"There is not one thing in this district, not one person that I've met in this district, with the exception of maybe a handful, that care about the kids. It's about money and it's about wages," says Clark.
But everyone didn't agree, including school board member Mildred Tatum, who paid money back to the district after a May audit.
"I paid it back because the auditor said I owed it but I really feel like it was very unfair. I've been a member of this school board for 27 years. I have never misused the funds," says Tatum.
The state said in a May audit that the PCSSD misspent hundreds of thousands of dollars between March 2004 and May 2009. They spent money on things including travel expenses, alcohol and a sea-doo. If you add it all together it equals close to $500,000.
Part of the reason why the auditing committee wants school board members back at their next meeting is "there's going to be heat in the kitchen but we need to stay in there for the sake of these public schools in the state of Arkansas."
Another issue discussed was referred to as "the elephant in the room." They talked about who does or doesn't support the teacher's union.
The sea-doo referenced in the piece refers to a purchase made by James Diemer
, not a Pulaski County Special School board member. He's accused of using district money to buy more than $400,000 worth of goods.