Ohio Mom Finds $9 Million 'Clerical Error' in School Budget

A mom in Ohio this week found a $9 million clerical error in the Parma City School District five-year financial forecast, but officials say the discovery will have no effect on the district’s finances.

Parma is the largest suburb of Cleveland. The parent found the error after the district proposed drastic cuts to deal with a $7 million deficit this year and a projected $8 million deficit next year. News 5 Cleveland reports that “the proposed cuts would lay off 30 teachers, dozens of staff, kill programs, and consolidate three high schools into one.” The announcement of the proposed cuts recently spurred hundreds of students to protest at the Board of Education meeting. Amanda Marie Karpus, the parent who made the discovery, said the cuts are unacceptable.

“You have kids who lost things they were going to put on their college applications,” she said. Karpus decided to take a closer look at Parma’s budget, poring over the 266-page forecast with her husband at their dining room table until the wee hours of the morning. Karpus looked at Line 4.030 which called for $10.2 million for accounts for treasurer and audit fees, and questioned why it was so much. “We just knew that was a lot of money to be allocated to one fund,” she told News 5.

It turns out that the number should have been $1.2 million — in other words — a $9 million clerical error.

Parma School’s Treasurer, David Crowley, called the $9 million a variance. He said it doesn’t make a difference.

“Net effect of zero,” he said. Crowley added that the money belonged in another line of the budget.

“The 9 million belonged in payroll accounts,” he said.

Crowley’s explanation was good enough for Kanus [sic], but she and other Parma parents will keep fighting.

The superintendent also called for an internal audit, something the school board will be voting on.