- Associated Press - Monday, April 14, 2014

BENOIT, Miss. (AP) - The former superintendent of the Benoit school system and three other ex-employees have been asked for repay $109,681 in allegedly misused grant money.

The demand letter was sent by State Auditor Stacey Pickering to Suzanne Hawley, former superintendent of the Benoit School District; Barbara Peeples, former business manager; Ephen Melton, former maintenance manager; and Sherry Shepard, former assistant superintendent.

Pickering said in a new release the four received unapproved and unauthorized salaries through three grants awarded to Benoit School District over three school years, July 2003 through June 2006.

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He said the funds received by the four individuals exceeded their respective contracts and were paid without the knowledge and approval of the school district and the Mississippi Department of Education.

Pickering said Hawley received a total of $11,500 in unapproved salary. Peeples received $11,500 in unapproved salary. Melton received $23,788 and Shepard, received $34,947 in unapproved salary.

An additional $27,946 is included in the demand letter for interest and investigative expenses.

Hawley, Peeples, Melton and Shepard have 30 days repay the money.

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