Alexandria School Board stands behind superintendent

Alexandria Schools Superintendent Morton Sherman. (Christy Goodman)

The board said it has “full confidence” in Morton Sherman, and found that Sherman “acted responsibly” in addressing the irregularities cited in an external auditor’s report. Alexandria vice mayor Kerry Donley called for Sherman's resignation in the wake of the controversy, but School Board Chairman Sheryl Gorsuch did not publicly agree.

The controversy began last summer when school and city officials became aware that millions of dollars worth of bills to contractors who worked on school repair and renovation projects were unpaid, unbudgeted projects were underway, no one was making sure accounting spreadsheets were in sync and money was being transferred from one project to another without proper authorization.

After an internal investigation, Sherman froze spending and stopped construction work, and hired an outside auditor to conduct a probe. The auditors last week called the school system’s oversight “dysfunctional.”

Four people lost their jobs over the controversy, although school officials say there is no evidence that anyone profited from the irregularities. The City Council, which appropriates about a third of the city budget to the schools, severely criticized the management failures, although none joined Donley in publicly calling for Sherman’s resignation.

The School Board statement last night said board members have commissioned an independent review to make sure the auditors’ recommendations are fully followed, and it will hold Sherman accountable for the follow-up. The board also said no money is missing and all projects will be completed. Sherman is scheduled to present the quarterly report on the capital improvement projects, including any items deferred because of the uproar, at the board’s next meeting March 22.

Patricia Sullivan covers government, politics and other regional issues in Arlington County and Alexandria. She worked in Illinois, Florida, Montana and California before joining the Post in November 2001.


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