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Clayton County Board of Commissioners writes off $102,549 SRO debt owed by Clayton County Public Schools

JONESBORO — Clayton County commissioners this week wrote off $102,549.69 that the county’s school system owed from more than half a decade ago for school resource officers.

The write-offs are for bills sent to the school system in June 2005 and June 2007. The school system owed the county $50,199.46 for high school SROs in 2005 and$52,343.23 for SROs for the county’s high schools, middle schools and alternative school in 2007, according to county finance department documents.

“Basically, we didn’t go after the money,” said Chairman Jeff Turner.

At the time, the school system used police officers from the county and several cities as SROs.

Chief Financial Officer Ramona Thurman said the county ran out of time to get paid for the officers years ago. She said under existing practices, the county waited up to 120 days after the bills were sent before turing the matter over to collections personnel.

The county did not do that, she said. Thurman, who was hired by the county this year, said she was at a loss to explain why the county did not pursue payment at the time. Although Thurman was working for school system’s finance department in 2007 as its budgets and grants director, she said she also wasn’t sure why the June 2007 bill wasn’t paid.

The bills were sent during the tenure of former schools Superintendent Barbara Pulliam, and the 2007 bill was sent a month before she resigned. Her resignation kicked off a period where four superintendents and interim superintendents passed through the district in less than two years.