Hattiesburg Public School District is financially insolvent; has $7,550,000 shortfall with 2014-2015 revised budget

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Each year the Hattiesburg Public School District projects its budget for the upcoming school year. And at the end of that year, the school district revises that budget based on the actual revenues and expenses incurred.

This year was a little different. The district had to bring Mr. Frank Aderholt out of retirement to complete the revised budget; since the person in charge of those responsibilities was not able to complete the task. The deadline for filing the revised budget with the state was October, 15th.

The Hattiesburg Patriot has exclusively obtained the revised budget filed with the state. It has not yet been certified; so it could potentially be worse that this.

This mismanagement should come as no surprise. Our school board hired Baccus, who recently admitted that he made a math error in a tally sheet; which determined what company won the job to write the District's Strategic Plan. Not surprisingly, the error resulted in a firm, which Baccus has a very close relationship, getting the contract. The error cost the school district over $130,000. Meanwhile, Baccus' picture is all over their website.

It's apparent that the School Board President, Marcus Cathey, isn't capable of doing his job, and Baccus can't add correctly either or didn't bother to check the score. Cathey seems more concerned with abusing his power and using public buildings against state statute for his non profit than taking his position of public service seriously.  Read more about Cathey here.

Hattiesburg has some of the highest school taxes in the state. In the late 80's to early 90's Hattiesburg received legislative approval to exceed the statutory limit on school taxes. At this point, the district will have to make massive cuts to correct this mismanagement.

Below is the revised budget. It speaks for itself; as it reflects on the Board and the Superintendent's inability to manage taxpayers resources. Meanwhile, we have the highest administrative costs in the state.

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42 thoughts on “Hattiesburg Public School District is financially insolvent; has $7,550,000 shortfall with 2014-2015 revised budget

  1. Carlton Welborn

    To bad it took the district to lose the federal funding before the state stepped in. I’m sure it won’t help with state funding either! And our State Legislators appear to be so very content with MS being in last place, in so many areas.

  2. Jamie Corley

    An employee of mine who also works for HPSD came to me today to give her notice. She found a better job and will be leaving both of us. When I asked why, the employee said that HPSD sent out an email concerning payroll issues for the upcoming pay period. Apparently this is no longer a “might happen,” but an “is happening.”

  3. Shannon Johnson

    Lastly, the Department of Education cannot and will not step in, until the Mississippi State Auditor’s Office writes a letter stating that the school district is in financial distress as required by Mississippi State Statue. Until this action happens, the school district will continue to float along broke.

  4. Wayne Archer

    I understand the need for looking forward, but who is responsible for this and are they going to be charged? This is criminal, expecially in light of all the crying and gnashing of teeth about inadequate funding for education.

  5. Shannon Johnson

    What HPSD needs to do is contact MDE to get Bonnie Granger and Diane Day ( two of the best finanical advisors in the state of Mississippi’s school districts that have CPA and plenty of knowledge concerning problem school districts) involved and to evaluate the District’s financial condition in order for the state to take them over. The District is paying to two retired business managers to perform a job, when the fact remains, both of them could not even tell the Mississippi State Auditor’s Office the fund balance, when the rapid response team entered the school district a month or two agao, and I would still like to know the school district’s fund balance as of today. The Board goes into executive session to make all decisions without public knowledge. Too much information is being hidden from the public concerning HPD finances.

    1. Shannon Johnson

      No, not only about salaries but finances as a whole. Like I stated before, there are certain steps that must be taken before the state will take over. According to your statement, it is okay to pay two people already there that are not fixing the problem or finding a solution in order for the school district not to be negative at 6/30/16. Oh yeah, at least these salaries will be worth the pay.

  6. Howard Bond

    I have started purchasing the least possible in Hattiesburg for two reasons, Dupree and the removal of the state flag from public property at the be heist of fore mentioned dictator. The flag removal should have been put to a vote in a DEMOCRATIC way. I know my small amount of sales tax isn’t going to make a difference. And I know also that I cannot stop making some purchases because I try to be loyal to local businesses and simply can’t get some things elsewhere. But it would be refreshing to see local businesses display our present state flag.

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