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Education Department mistakenly sends Montgomery’s money to Pike Road

Josh Moon

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By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

At least $1.4 million that should have gone to the Montgomery County school system was instead mistakenly routed by the Alabama Department of Education to the Pike Road School system, which has burned through the money.

Officials within MPS noticed the discrepancy two months ago following an odd series of events that transpired after employees in the system failed to receive their usual paychecks.

That snafu was blamed on now-terminated chief financial officer Pamela Wooden, who the system fired in early September. Following Wooden’s termination, MPS was forced to bring in a contract financial officer to handle the system’s daily finance operation, and it selected former longtime CFO Ron Glover.

According to a source familiar with the situation, while running through the books, Glover noticed a mistake in the per-student revenue calculations from ALSDE.

“In every school system’s initial year, all funding computations are entered manually,” ALSDE spokesman Michael Sibley said in an email response. “They are automated in subsequent years. In this instance, a manual data entry error accounted for the inadvertent allocation of funds between Montgomery Public Schools and Pike Road City Schools.

“Both school systems are aware and are working together to arrange the transfer of funds. No other systems in the state were impacted.”

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An MPS spokesman also confirmed the accounting error but stated that MPS played no role in the mistake and expected to recoup the money lost.

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When, or even if, that is true is unclear.

A source close to the Pike Road system said it received a directive from new state superintendent Michael Sentance last month to have the money repaid by the end of 2016.

However, the source said, that is a virtual impossibility, because PRS doesn’t have the money

“They (PRS) have turned to the (Town of) Pike Road for help, but we’re unsure what the path for resolving this will be,” the source said.

A request for comment from PRS officials was not answered.

Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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