Auditor Sends Demand Letters to Former Holmes County School Officials

State Auditor Shad White sent demand letters Thursday to six former Holmes County school district board members or employees, totaling more than $200,000.

The school district was taken over by the Mississippi Department of Education in August 2021 following a nearly 400-page audit that found the district was in violation of 81% of accreditation standards. The allegations included a dysfunctional school board and administration, inappropriate spending, inaccurate record keeping and unlicensed teachers in the classroom.

READ MORE: No background checks, wasteful spending and an ‘adults-only’ party: State auditor’s report alleges ‘widespread problems’ at schools in Holmes Co.

The letters of formal notice were sent to:

  • James Henderson (former superintendent) – $90,677.18
  • Cheryl Peoples (former CFO) – $46,937.68
  • Louise Winters (Former School Board Chair) -13,523.90
  • April Jones (former school board member) – $13,523.89
  • William Elder Dean Jr. (former school board member) – $13,523.89
  • Anthony Anderson (Former School Board Member) – $24,623.90

The Auditor’s Office released a list of “noteworthy findings” that led to the issuance of these letters of formal notice, which included a party to celebrate the passing of a bond issue that voters in the Holmes County were ultimately disallowed, payments exceeding the superintendent’s approved salary, payments made to businesses owned by the superintendent’s relatives and credit card transitions without proper documentation.

“We are seeking reimbursement of this money on behalf of the students and taxpayers of Holmes County who deserve to have their money spent as required by law,” White said in a press release.

The former superintendent and former school board president could not be reached for comment.

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Auditor Sends Demand Letters to Former Holmes County School Officials

State Auditor Shad White sent demand letters Thursday to six former Holmes County school district board members or employees, totaling more than $200,000.

the the school district was taken over by the Mississippi Department of Education in August 2021 following a nearly 400-page audit that found the district was in violation of 81% of accreditation standards. The allegations included a dysfunctional school board and administration, inappropriate spending, inaccurate record keeping and unlicensed teachers in the classroom.

LEARN MORE : No background checks, wasteful spending and an ‘adults-only’ party: State auditor’s report finds ‘widespread problems’ at Holmes Co schools

The formal notices were sent to:

  • James Henderson (former superintendent) – $90,677.18
  • Cheryl Peoples (former CFO) – $46,937.68
  • Louise Winters (former school board chair) –13,523.90
  • April Jones (former school board member); – $13,523.89
  • William Elder Dean Jr. (former school board member) – $13,523.89
  • Anthony Anderson (Former School Board Member) – $24,623.90

The Auditor’s Office released a list of “noteworthy findings” that led to the issuance of these letters of formal notice, which included a party to celebrate the passing of a bond issue that voters in the Holmes County were ultimately dismissed, payments exceeding the superintendent’s approved salary, payments made to businesses owned by the superintendent’s relatives and credit card transitions without proper documentation.

“We demand repayment of this money on behalf of the students and taxpayers of Holmes County who deserve to have their money spent as required by law,” White said in a press release.

The former superintendent and former school board president could not be reached for comment.

This article was first published on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

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Julia James is Mississippi Today’s poverty and breaking news reporter. Originally from Mandeville, Louisiana, James recently completed an investigative reporting internship with Mississippi Today. In this role, she closely covered the sprawling welfare scandal and public education. She will continue this work, while working closely with Mississippi Today’s breaking news team. James is a 2021 graduate from the University of Mississippi, where she studied journalism and public policy and was at Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. She has been featured in The New York Times, Mississippi Today and Clarion Ledger.

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