Multiple Improper Use of Procurement Cards and Management Weaknesses Found in Cleveland Municipal School District Audit

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Columbus – An audit of the Cleveland Municipal School District (CMSD) released today by Auditor of State Keith Faber found improper procurement card transactions and weak management controls.


“Strong guardrails are imperative to preventing abuse of tax dollars,” said Auditor Faber. “Internal audit practices like CMSD’s are essential in being vigilant in seeking out people who are not the best stewards of money earmarked for the future of Ohio’s children.”



The District notified the state audit staff of identified misuses of credit card including transactions by Tiffiany James, totaling $517. The audit staff confirmed this misuse and Ms. James has repaid the District in full. Guidelines and trainings for purchasing cards has been updated by the district.


While all purchase card holders must be familiar with Ohio laws and guidelines regarding Public Employee Code of Ethics and Conflicts of interest, Terrance Mitchell also had improper transactions totaling $18,584. Some of these transactions lacked detailed receipts, were fabricated, or were deemed conflicts of interest as they were payments to himself or family members. Mr. Mitchell entered a settlement agreement with the District to repay the finding in monthly installments.


Another finding in the audit identified the overpayment of a substitute teacher. Nicole Pierce was paid by the District for 73 days of substituting services that included class periods in which she was working on behalf of Youth Opportunities Unlimited, a separate employer. Ms. Pierce was ineligible to be paid by the District for the periods in which she was scheduled and paid as a Youth Opportunities Unlimited employee. This resulted in $7,661 for substitution services performed while concurrently working her other job and $1,376 for ineligible class coverage periods. Ms. Pierce has also entered into a settlement to repay the District $9,037.


The full audit can be found online.