July 23, 2019 10:28:12 AM
The Columbus Municipal School District Board of Trustees took Superintendent Cherie Labat's recommendation during a special-call meeting Monday morning to hire an educational consulting firm to oversee the district's financial operations and documentation pertaining to construction on the former Hunt High School building.
CMSD will use budget allocations to pay Jackson-based firm The Excellence Group an amount up to $5,000 during a contract period that expires in December.
Both Labat and CMSD Board President Jason Spears told The Dispatch hiring TEG is more of a precaution than anything. After the building incurred significant damage during an EF-3 tornado on Feb. 23, the district's business and financial offices have not only had to manage invoices for repairs and contractors, but have also had to keep records to submit to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for reimbursement. Because of that extra level of work needed, Spears and Labat said they would "rather be safe than sorry" and hire an external company to double-check their work.
"We got a lot of information about Hunt and the financial reimbursement process from FEMA, so we want to make sure we're doing everything correctly," Labat said. "It's additional support for our staff on that level, and (TEG) will also be reviewing our business operations district-wide. We don't want anything to fall to the wayside."
TEG has also entered into a separate contract with CMSD for professional development services for all school district employees. There are allocations in the CMSD budget for the one-time payment of $1,400, Labat told the board during Monday's meeting.
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