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Mayor of Bristol calls out Board of Education on Facebook for school budget deficit

BRISTOL -- Budget drama has spilled into social media in Bristol. The mayor has asked for resignation letters from the town's Board of Education.

This comes after a recent audit found that $2.4 million was overlooked in this year's school budget. The mayor said he wants someone to be held accountable, but the Board of Education is not happy about the way he chose to share that information.

This is the second time the board has faced a deficit. The mayor said last year, they had a deficit of $2.2 million.

"These are taxpayer dollars we're working with," said Mayor Ken Cockayne.

He said he has met with the Board of Education several times and informed them they would have to pay for half of the audit.

When asked how this happened for a second time, he said the board pointed fingers at previous comptroller, who is now retired.

"All we kept hearing was we don't know and they kept pointing fingers at people who no longer work at the Board of Ed," added Mayor Cockayne.

He took his frustrations to the Facebook page, "Bristol Talks," and said, "Continuing to blame others. Perhaps it's time for resignations, starting with the BOE Chairman and Vice Chairman."

Vice Chairman Karen Vibert responded to his post and said she would not resign.

FOX 61 knocked on her house door, but no one answered. Vibert also did not reply to an email requesting comment.

Chairman Christopher Wilson made the following statement:

"No one at the Board of Education knew about the deficit until the latter part of August. The Board of Education along with the Board of Finance have both called for an Operational review to determine why the Board of Education did not know earlier. We will let this process play itself out. I nor Karen Vibert will be resigning."

"Do I think there’s fraud? No. I think it’s very bad accounting but again, we’re not talking about a couple hundred dollars. We’re talking about $2.4 million,” added Mayor Cockayne.

The mayor said at one of the meetings, a suggestion was made to board members of having a separate fund to better manage special education costs, but they declined. As for now, they are still waiting for answers from the audit of how this deficit was missed in the 2016-2017 school budget.