DeKalb Schools’ CFO Resigns After Budget Surplus Revealed

Credit Nick NeSmith / for WABE

Officials with the DeKalb County schools originally predicted the district would run a deficit of tens of millions of dollars next year. But when interim superintendent Michael Thurmond released his proposed budget last week, it revealed a surplus of more than $9 million. 

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District spokesman Jeff Dickerson says the money came from federal and state reimbursements that district officials didn’t know to ask for.

“They were significant,” Dickerson says, “And they were the kinds of things that are routinely captured by other school systems and dollars that we should be capturing as well.”

Thurmond’s proposal says the reimbursements include school meal programs and money from Title I grants, directed to schools with low-income populations. Dickerson says he’s not sure who is responsible for requesting the money.

“I think that that responsibility would lie with any number of offices within the DeKalb County school district, not just the finance office, but Title I and other offices as well,he says

The same day Thurmond issued his proposal, the district’s Chief Financial Officer, Michael Perrone, resigned. Dickerson says he’s not sure if Perrone gave a reason for leaving. Mike Bell, an auditor with the district, has been named interim CFO. Bell used to be a financial director with DeKalb County government.

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