Audit finds overpayment to former Scotland County Schools superintendent

Image from office of N.C. Auditor Beth Wood's office.

RALEIGH — A new audit report by the State Auditor’s Office has found overpayments made to the former superintendent of the Scotland County Public Schools district.

The audit contains three main overpayment areas: a $15,068 overpayment at the time of the superintendent’s retirement, 704 hours of retirement service credit for which the superintendent was not entitled to receive, and the district had failed to retain leave records for School District employees, including the former superintendent.

“In September 2020, the former Superintendent retired and was paid for 240 hours of unused vacation leave. This balance was overstated by 164 hours as the former Superintendent was only entitled to be paid for 76 hours,” the audit states. “The overstatement resulted from the failure to reduce his accumulated vacation hours for each of the three years by the hours that were paid out. As a result, roll-over errors occurred over the three years.”

The audit further states that the vacation leave balance was not adjusted which caused the overpayment of $15,068 because the former finance officer “misinterpreted the terms of the former Superintendent’s employment contract.”

The State Auditor’s Office initiated its investigation after receiving a tip to its hotline.

Recommendations made in the audit report include suggesting Scotland County Public Schools seek repayment from the former superintendent for the overpayment amount and that the district should inform the State Treasurer’s Office about the retirement overpayments.

Additionally, the audit recommends the district’s leadership examine its oversight procedures to prevent future overpayments and to comply with retirement payment schedules.

The district did not dispute the findings and in its response letter detailed multiple ways in which it will take corrective action and improve oversight processes.

The audit does not name the superintendent but refers to a male individual.

The most recent male superintendent for the district was Dr. Ron Hargrave, who left in 2020. Hargrave had served as Scotland County schools superintendent for seven years.

Takeda LeGrand was selected to replace Hargrave in November 2020. Scotland County Public Schools had used the National School Board Association to solicit applications for the job.

LeGrand was terminated from her position by the school board earlier this year on Feb. 27. The Scotland County School Board unanimously voted to “invoke the unilateral termination clause in the contract” of LeGrand.

Robert Logan, a former superintendent for Lee County schools, was named as interim superintendent effective April 4.

About A.P. Dillon 1200 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_