South Carolina

$1 million discrepancy revealed in SC school district audit. Now SLED is investigating

State agents have launched an investigation into a $1.1 million bookkeeping discrepancy in a South Carolina school district’s finances that surfaced during a financial review last year.

The investigation began in November, when Spartanburg School District One Superintendent Ron Garner contacted the State Law Enforcement Division after a review of the district’s finances revealed that more than $1 million in payments were made to an out of state financial institution but not properly documented, Garner said during a Thursday news conference.

The three payments each totaled about $355,000 and were made in 2013, 2014 and 2015 to Tetra Financial Group in Salt Lake City, Garner said. They were associated with a 2008 lease purchase agreement.

“That’s the discrepancy that we’re talking about,” Garner said. “We’re not talking about missing funds or missing money. We’re talking about a discrepancy in the books.”

Garner could not say Thursday why, if the payments began in 2013, the discrepancy wasn’t discovered until late 2018, but added that that is part of the investigation.

“We want to be good stewards of the taxpayers’ money,” he said. “And to discover this discrepancy, it’s incumbent on me to determine what happened and why.”

The district has an annual budget of about $48 million, according to Garner.