Auditor to review Portsmouth schools finances

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The budget director for Portsmouth Public Schools has been suspended, and now the school board will have an outside auditor review how the district handles its finances.

City Council funds the school district’s budget, so WAVY.com contacted Mayor Kenneth Wright for comment on the new developments and the superintendent’s action.

“As Mayor, I cannot get into personnel matters with the superintendent and one of his employees. I support our school board 100 percent, and I’ve been a huge fan of our superintendent and the school board for the progress we’ve made over the last 12 years,” Wright said.

The Mayor went on to say if the board wants a second set of eyes on its spending plans, he’s all for it.

“We’re going into a categorical funding, and I consider this a transitional year with us trying to re-appropriate and get those finances in proper order, and the school board has been very cooperative in trying to do that,” he said.

The district has 15,000 students in 23 schools and pre-kindergarten centers. Mayor Wright said he will not support proposed spending cuts for the upcoming school year.

“Our programs, our star based programs, all of our STEM pathway programs, our career and technical services, those programs, have proved to be extremely valuable over these last 12 years,” he said. “I’m not in favor of cutting any of those programs.”

Wright said education is a top priority for the city.

WAVY.com was unable to contact the superintendent, but school board member Ted Lamb said the board expects to hear from its independent auditor during its next meeting on April 10.

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