Hoover superintendent to report “financial irregularities” at Spain Park

Hoover Schools Superintendent Andy Craig will report financial irregularities at Spain Park High School to the Alabama Ethics Commission, according to a statement released by the superintendent.

“Financial reviews of the books and records for Spain Park High School revealed transactions not deemed in the normal course of school business,” the release stated.

Those financial abnormalities involved expenditures by school Principal Billy Broadway. The expenditures total less than $5,000, but included personal items, which triggered a financial report. Also, since the items purchased were personal items, it’s necessary for the expenses to be reported to the State Ethics Commission.

The purchases may be in violation of the Alabama Ethics Act, the release stated.

Cathy Antee, chief financial officer of the Hoover School System, performed the financial report. In the report, she documents the following transactions:

-Broadway purchased five collectible Mont Blanc fountain and roller ball pens and refills. The five pens, which were purchased with public funds, ranged in cost from $211.50-$350.

School system officials discussed the purchases with Broadway, who said the pens were bought over time to replace pens he had been given when he was principal at Bob Jones High School in Madison, Ala.

Broadway spent a total of $1,442.38 on the pens, $744.75 of which was paid for with classroom instructional funds. Broadway has paid $350 back to Spain Park for the pens, and the two sides are discussing repayment of the remaining balance.

-Public funds totaling $1,716.78 were used to frame personal items displayed in Broadway’s office, including his high school, college and graduate school diplomas, as well as letters and awards. Broadway has reimbursed the school $1,118.24 for the frames, and discussions continue about the remaining balance.

-Five Blue Ribbon commemorative items were framed and personalized for Broadway, school assistant principals and the athletic director at a cost of $1,063.85.

Antee also noted the purchase orders for the personal items, prepared by a school secretary, sometimes did not adequately explain the transactions.

“It is unclear as to whether failure to provide an adequate description of the transaction on the purchase order was intentional or accidental on the part of the secretary,” Antee wrote. “The principal, in approving the transaction, should have been aware of the inconsistency and corrected the purchase order.”

Antee also stated the school’s bookkeeper should have seen the discrepancies between the orders and the invoices.

“The principal and the bookkeeper are experienced in their roles and in my opinion are aware of the appropriate use of public funds,” Antee wrote.

Jason Gaston, a spokesperson for Hoover City Schools, said school officials are unable to comment on legal proceedings.

Gaston said at this point, Broadway’s retirement is still effective June 30, 2010. Broadway announced his retirement in January.