The Stratford Board of Education will bring in an independent firm to perform an audit of recent budgets.
Board of Ed Chairman James Feehan said recently that the audit will cover this year’s budget and the budgets of the last three fiscal years. The Board of Ed voted last Wednesday to hire the independent auditor.
Feehan said in an email that the audit is being done “in response to requests made by members of the Town Council and the public.”
“The suggestion that we would allow or just not look hard or do our fiduciary duty or or look for a surplus or directing it or allowing the administration to direct a surplus somewhere is far-fetched,” Feehan said Monday by phone. “With this audit, it will allow the public to see and ask their questions.”
Feehan added that “the only way is to open yourself up is 110%.”
The auditor will be chosen by an outside attorney, Feehan said, working for the Board of Ed, but the school board and the district administration will not have any input into their selection. The auditing firm will be chosen based on price and qualifications, the school board chairman said.
Feehan said the firm selected cannot currently be doing business with the Board of Ed and cannot be based in Stratford.
The audit comes in response to criticisms about the budget from the public and from residents who have questioned the board’s spending habits.
Resident Henry Bruce recently circulated a petition calling for the Town Council to give the Board of Ed no increase in its 2017-18 budget. The current Board of Ed budget is $106.8 million. The Board of Ed voted two weeks ago to request $110.49-million next year. Mayor John Harkins is proposing a $109.3-million outlay in his proposed $220.3-million budget.
Feehan said the full audit will be presented to the Board of Ed and posted on the board’s website with answers to questions from Stratford residents. Questions can be sent to Board of Ed Secretary Teresa Lycoudes at [email protected]