Manatee school district audit to be released

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MANATEE COUNTY - After a slight delay from last week, officials in Manatee County are expected to release the findings of the school district's financial audit.

The hope is the audit will shed light on how the district managed to end up more than three million dollars in debt.

The audit is set to be released at 2 pm, and will be part of a 2-hour presentation by the company hired to perform the audit.

Sources say the entire report is more than 200 pages long, but before we look ahead at what the findings may reveal, let's take a look back at what brought us to this point.

This budget shortfall came to light in early September, about a week after it was revealed former Superintendent Tim McGonegal resigned. The board then ordered an investigation into the shortfall.

The goal of this audit is to find out how 3.4 million dollars was never budgeted for by the school district. That includes $6.7 million dollars for teacher salaries, $700,000 for textbooks, and $480,000 for virtual teaching programs.

There was initially around 5 million dollars in the general fund. Obviously, what was unbudgeted for wiped that out. It's the 3.4 million dollar difference now at the center of the audit.

We spoke on the phone Monday morning with School Board Member Barbara Harvey, who says as part of this audit it was agreed that no school board member or other official would get any kind of advance warning as to what this audit will reveal. She says the board's goal is to listen to the findings and then analyze the results.

We will have more on this story coming up at 5 and 6.