More than $48 million worth of school equipment is missing from Shelby County Schools.
The jaw-dropping amount was discovered after ProBar, a Maryland-based company, conducted an audit on both Memphis City Schools and Shelby County Schools prior to the merger. The company was unable to account for more than 54,000 pieces of equipment, which retails for $48.4 million of taxpayers' money.
SCS district superintendent Dorsey Hopson held a media briefing on Tuesday, December 3rd to discuss the results of the inventory audit. During the briefing, Hopson said one of the SCS board's primary objectives is finding out whether or not there is a particular school, warehouse, or building that has an extraordinarily high amount of equipment missing.
"We’ve got to do a deep-dive," Hopson said. "There are still unanswered questions. There’s still inventory that’s missing. We’re directing staff to go back and keep looking, to see if there’s other stuff that they can find. Once we get a handle on what we have and what we don’t have, we’re going to look and see if there are hotspots. Are there places where there’s an extraordinary amount of things missing? And then we’re going to see if there is someone even still here that’s responsible."
According to ProBar's audit information, MCS suffered a 23 percent (more than 44,000 items) equipment loss over a 30-year period. SCS suffered a 18 percent (more than 10,000 items) loss over the same time frame.
Hopson said he thinks the missing equipment could be attributed to theft and poor inventory record keeping. He said if it's determined that a person has taken equipment or "grossly mismanaged" items, job termination could be a potential disciplinary action taken as a result.
"We want to find what we know we have, but that does not veer away from the fact that we need to work on our internal control and make sure we are using our best efforts to safeguard what is essentially a taxpayers' problem," Hopson said.