Former Richmond County teachers may still be on payroll

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March 7, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---Wouldn't it be nice to get paid for a job you no longer do?

Some Richmond County school board members are raising eyebrows today after concerns some of the county's former teachers may still be on the payroll.

News 12 has learned at least one employee was paid an extra month they shouldn't have been.

When it comes to some Richmond County school administrators doing the job they're being paid to do, board members and parents alike agree that they're not making the grade.

Every month Richmond County board members are given a report listing all personnel changes and the dates those teachers retire or transfer from the school system, so the board can remove those people from the payroll.

Problem is, if you look closer at the dates on the most recent report, some of them go back as far back as May and June of 2006.

That means those teachers, who haven't been teachers for nearly a year, could still be on the payroll.

"It was noticed the teacher resigned about ten months ago and it was just now appearing in March personnel forms," school board member Helen Minchew told News 12.

So how exactly does taxpayer money, your money, slip through the cracks for so long?

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Missoura Ashe tells News 12 it's because some principals are not following the rules. They have 48 hours to report to the board when a teacher resigns.

Minchew says the board made the 48 hour rule about four years ago because it happened then too.

"There is no need for this to continue," she said.

While Dr. Ashe says the teacher who's been on the payroll since May 2006 hasn't been given a single penny since she left, the budget controller tells us there's at least one employee he knows of now who was given one month of her pay she shouldn't have been.

That has some Richmond County parents furious.

"You're getting millions of dollars to educate our children," said Theresa Edwards. "Where is it going?"

The budget controller added they are now working on trying to get that money back from the employee who was overpaid.

Board members tell News 12 actions may be taken against those principals for delaying the paperwork for so long. That could be discussed at Thursday night's board meeting.

Calls to the interim superintendent have not been returned.

There was also a question in last night's committee meeting regarding a secretary who gave herself about $20,000 of federal grant money awarded for vocational programs.

Minchew says the secretary did follow the proper chain of command to approve it, but still questions why the board didn't review it.

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