Fairview Independent schools special investigation reveals $360K in "out of control" spending

06/30/2015 05:50 PM

A special investigation from the state Auditor Adam Edelen’s office into the Fairview Independent School District reveals hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on sports and activities from the general fund.

Edelen said the 63-page special investigation report released Monday reveals that $360,000 was moved to fund school athletics over the course of three years with little or no school board knowledge. The report is being sent to law enforcement and the Education Professional Standards Board.

Fairview Independent in northeastern Kentucky raised taxes and used instructional dollars to cover athletics and activity spending, Edelen said in a press release.

Spending on the football program, Edelen said, also likely resulted in the district violating Title IX requirements by spending more on boys’ sports than on girls’ sports.

“I appreciate school pride and share the insatiable enthusiasm Kentuckians have for their high school sports, but these were not responsible, grown-up decisions that were being made,” Edelen said.

The $373,700 in spending identified by auditors took place as the school district faced a $373,700 deficit and enacted a tax increase to generate an additional $1.2 million in revenue.

“The same year the District raised taxes, it transferred $162,000 from the general fund into school activity funds,” Edelen said. “Excessive spending on activities isn’t the primary reason the District raised taxes, but it certainly wasn’t prudent or responsible either.”

Unchecked spending was also found to have taken place in the high school weight room with $32,000 in donations from an elementary school activity account, according to the news release. The money spent on the weight room was supposed to go towards addressing nonacademic barriers.

The report also indicates that Bill Musick, the school district’s retiring superintendent, used the district credit card to pay for personal expenses.

Several district staff also reported that Musik “used intimidation tactics so that staff wouldn’t question his decisions or discuss his actions,” according to the news release.

“I hope the school board heeds the recommendations in this report and strengthens controls to better protect taxpayers,” Edelen said.

A May report from WSAZ-TV indicated that Musick had been under investigation by Kentucky Office of Education Accountability for other allegations involving staffing and hiring.

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics, the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like the connection between the high profile Steubenville, Ohio rape and a Kentucky hacker whose push for further investigation could put him in federal prison. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@twcnews.com.

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