School District Missing $80,000

Bridgeport School Superintendent Ted Downing believes someone took $80,000 from the school’s bank account after allegedly hacking into its computer system last week.

Downing said, “Our system was compromised sometime last week. We were notified by Citizens Bank that our account was overdrawn.”

Without going into too many specifics due to pending legal ramifications, Downing emphasized, “No one in the district is guilty of fraud or embezzling.

“It’s a case of fraud, but not by anyone in the district.”

Downing said Treasurer Cheryl Pritts, along with himself and several other district employees, are working with local and federal officials in an attempt to recover the missing funds.

“Eighty thousand dollars is a lot of money,” Downing said. “You always think you’re safe – then you find out you’re not.”

He said the district has protocols in place to deter things like this, but they are working on improving them right now.

“We added more protocols already so that it doesn’t happen again, but you can never say never on something like this with all the technology these days.”

Downing added that the district is looking into securing an attorney for future legal issues concerning the return of the money.

He has also contacted the district’s insurance company.

“We’re not leaving any stone unturned when it comes to trying to find where the money is – and who is responsible for taking it,” he allowed. “There’s a lot of issues that we have to deal with. It’s a complicated ordeal right now.”

A special board of education meeting has been set for 7 a.m. Friday, as members are expected to enter a closed-door session to discuss the possible legal ramifications.