The Groton Board of Education voted Monday to seek a forensic audit of the budget and grant spending during the last fiscal year to look into allegations that money may have been misspent.
School Board Member Bob Peruzzotti said he made the motion because during the investigation of Superintendent Paul Kadri, one of the people interviewed indicated grant money may have been used improperly.
The said in a report issued Aug. 15, that Dana Parfitt, the former grants facilitator for Groton, reported that Kadri did not appreciate that grants were issued subject to strict guidelines.
“She reported that Mr. Kadri would try to use funds for purposes that did not fall within their required purpose,” the report said. It added. “ . . .Ms. Parfitt was concerned that Mr. Kadri was asking her to misstate the manner in which funds were to be used, or had been used.”
Kadri attended Monday’s meeting and did not address the specific allegations publicly but issued this written statement with relation to grants:
“I have been an expert on the effective and equitable use of funds for almost two decades. I sat on several state committees in New Jersey, including one on defining equitable funding. I was a professor of school finance at the College of New Jersey, which was required for state certification to become a school administrator, and I was the state required, county mentor for state superintendents in Burlington County, N.J.
“In addition to years of successful years of school funding excellence, I was a consultant for various districts on site-based budgeting. I spoke nationally at conferences on this subject in the late 1990s and early 2000s. When I worked in the Newark Public Schools, I was asked by the state to give a workshop on how to submit grant documentation because they identified my submissions as exemplary.”
Peruzzotti said the school board will ask its attorney, Floyd Dugas, if it wants to investigate the whole budget or just grant spending. Peruzzotti said the motion will seeks quotes from accounting firms on the cost of audits for both the budget and the grants, then will determine which it wants to pursue. The school department plans to pay for it out of the current year's budget.
Peruzzotti said the request for quotes will likely go out in the next day, and receive responses in about one week.