Huntsville City School Board to consider cutting workers, investigating issues with new staffing company

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Huntsville's City School Board continues to try to claw back from a multi-million dollar accounting error. The district's chief financial officer said they risked having less than $2 million in operating funds by September 2019.

The district is required to keep $18 million in reserve.

On Thursday evening, the board approved the superintendent's audit report as well as looked for ways to trim spending, including around $700,000 from professional development.

"They want us to remember that when we're doing this budget, they're scared to death," Huntsville city school board member Pam Hill said.

"We might have to cut locally funded people," Huntsville city school board president Elisa Ferrell said. "Those are from local taxes, and that's where our slush is to cover things. We might have to, but I don't know for sure that we'll have to."

The district is considering a spending freeze and not filling some positions in the meantime.

School board members were also irritated on Thursday night when the staffing company they hired didn't show up at the meeting.

In May, the school board hired Professional Education Services Group to fill temporary jobs, as well as teachers aides and custodial workers. But in the past few weeks, many of those men and women said they haven't been paid. Employees wore red to this week's meeting hoping for a straight answer.

"I had someone call me yesterday morning and tell me they got a $22 check for 36 hours of work," board member Michelle Watkins said. "So, PESG needs to come to this board and explain to us what is going on with the contract."

School leaders say they're demanding a PESG representative attend the next meeting. They say they're also looking over the agreement to find out if the company breached the contract.

The board's next budget meeting is on September 4th.