School district says a missed deadline lead to payment errors totaling $1 million

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Officials at one Upstate school district say they’re satisified with their investigation, into a million dollar budget discrepency.

Spartanburg District One’s finances were brought into question last month, and now, we’re learning more about where that money went. 

When a $48 million annual budget, is taxpayer money, every cent needs to be accounted for.

And last month when Spartanburg School District One talked of a bookkeeping issue, the Superintendent, Dr. Ron Garner, said “we’re not talking about missing funds or missing money, we’re talking about a discrepancy in the books.” 

But it was unclear what exactly happened to a million tax payer dollars.

Today the District had answers, that date back to 2013.

“We discovered that there was a missed deadline on our end where the terms of the lease were extended,” said Sandra Williams, the District One spokesperson.

That lease, was anagreement with Tetra Financial Group, which the district had paid for some construction projects from 2010 to 2012.

The original funds went to capital improvements like a new HVAC system and painting at Mabry Middle School, and a new roof at Holly Springs Motlow Elementary.

But when the District missed that 2013 deadline the lease wasn’t terminated so payments continued until 2015.

“Since then we have learned a lot through this process, we have added some internal controls and have implemented a new 3 step varification process that will help to prevent occurances such as this from happening in the future,” said Williams. 

Through the Freedom of Information Act, 7News obtained the Reconciliation Agreement between the district and Tetra. It shows Tetra (now called Avtech Capital) has agreed to return two of the three payments totalling more than $670,000.

“We are very thankful for how cooperative Tetra Financial has been throughout this process in helping to fix the error that we made, and credit back to us a substantial portion of the payments that we did make.”

The State Law Enforcement Division had opened an investigation when the bookkeeping discrepancy was originally reported.  7News reached out to sled to see if that investigation is wrapping up, and we will update this story when we hear back. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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