State places Dougherty County School System on high risk status

Dougherty County School Board meeting earlier in the year. / WFXL

The Dougherty County Board of Education is facing a federal scolding after an intense meeting with state education officials.

This is in relation to the alleged mismanagement of millions of dollars in Title I funds.

The Dougherty County Board of Education wrapped up a meeting with the Georgia Department of Education about ongoing audit issues. The meeting ended at 4:30 PM.

Dougherty County School Attorney, Tommie Coleman, said in addition to being placed on high risk status, the board will have to answer to the U.S. Inspector General's Office.

"They'll have some extra reporting to do and additional monitoring by the federal government with regard to the federal funds that the state believes have been wrongfully spent by the board of education," said Tommie Coleman, DCSS Attorney.

Coleman said more than $20 million in Title I funds are being withheld because of the alleged mismanagement of funds.

By being named as a high risk district, the Dougherty County School Board will no longer receive any money upfront for Title I. The school system will have to spend money in its reserves and request a refund from the state.

Tommie Coleman said this creates a cash flow problem within the school system.

State officials emphasized that the Dougherty County School System has things that needs to change and the board made it clear that they understands there is a need to do so.