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Education Test

Audit: Dept. of Education Underfunding 36 County School Systems

Perry Bennett
West Virginia Legislative Photography

An audit of the Department of Education’s handling of the state funding formula for public schools says the Department is miscalculating funds and has actually been underpaying some counties for the past six years.

State lawmakers approved a recalculation of the state school aid formula in 2008.

Legislative Auditor Aaron Allred’s office reported Sunday a misinterpretation of the new formula since then has resulted in the underfunding of 36 county school systems to the tune of $52 million. Other counties received more funding than they were due because of the miscalculations.

Kanawha County sat at the top of the list, being underfunded by $5.3 million since 2008. On the opposite end, both Hardy and Monongalia Counties received more than a million dollars of extra funding, according to the audit report.

West Virginia Department of Education General Counsel Heather Hutchens told members of the Legislative Post-Audits Subcommittee Sunday the misinterpretation was not intentional and the state department did not keep the money that was shorted to county school systems. That money was simply not taken from the total state budget.

The audit recommends lawmakers work with the department to clarify the state aid formula code to make it clearer for future calculations.

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