- Associated Press - Thursday, March 20, 2014

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Principals have found half of the $48 million in missing equipment noted in audit of Shelby County Schools.

Internal auditor Melvin Burgess told The Commercial Appeal (http://bit.ly/NwVir6) that district officials think they have found nearly 31,000 pieces of equipment, though more than 20,000 pieces are still missing. He said he is spot-checking the amended audits in the schools and facilities with the highest-volume loss.

An outside auditing firm, which released the audit report in December, was unable to account for more than 54,270 pieces of equipment, including laptop computers, hard drives, tools and driver training cars.

Burgess recommended changes in procedures that include purchasing equipment through a central office, where it could be tagged before being delivered. He said when equipment must be ordered by schools, there should be an approval process and a dollar limit.

Superintendent Dorsey Hopson said officials have just begun working to resolve the problem.

“This is still very much a work in progress,” he told the school board. “I applaud the principals for rolling up their sleeves and finding a lot of this missing equipment. But it’s more important to make sure we have the internal controls that are working.”

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Information from: The Commercial Appeal, http://www.commercialappeal.com