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Lexington-Richland 5 publishes Phase II of its financial audit

Part 2 of a 3-part audit was released publicly, and reveals more spending issues within the Lexington Richland 5 School District.

IRMO, S.C. — Lexington-Richland 5 has released the second phase of its financial audit to the public. 

Board chairwoman Jan Hammond says the financial audit reveals more misspending and a lack of oversight by former boards on construction projects.

Phase II of the audit explores all spending from 2016 until 2020. The main portion of the audit shows overspending on the construction of Piney Woods Elementary. 

The school was built during 2019 - 2021 utilizing 8% bond money. The project costs exceeded the $30 million dollars the district borrowed which caused the public to question what happened to their tax dollars.

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That's something Board Chair Jan Hammond hopes never happens again.

"I want to make it clear this audit covers a period of time before Dr. Ross became superintendent and a period of time in which no current board members served as officers. Let me explain why that is relevant. Board Officers, by policy, set the agenda items. Until this newly elected Board of 2020 took office, no former board officers had seen a need for a procurement audit...My hope has always been for this audit to ease the mind of voters in District 5, and ensure them that if past Board leadership and superintendents engaged in wasteful spending or a lack of proper oversite, it will be corrected." Hammond said.

There is also a section in the audit regarding ethics violations and complaints.

Several former board members were mentioned throughout the audit, but have been cleared of any ethics violations.

RELATED: Lexington-Richland 5 to arm district security team, adding to law enforcement response

Now that this part of the audit is published Hammond says the board will turn their findings over to the state Attorney General's office and all other legal authorities that should be involved.

Hammond says the district is having their lawyer review work with former vendors and contractors to see if there is any overpaid money they can get back.

"If we could show any place that we were overcharged... by a vendor, hopefully, they could make that right," Hammond said.

The next phase of the audit will be over a shorter time period, and the district is hoping to release it to the public before the end of December.

RELATED: Lexington Richland 5 attorney calls district 'dysfunctional'

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