Hart district delays settlement

first_imgSANTA CLARITA – The Hart high school district has withheld payments of a $234,253 settlement to its former finance chief pending the results of an audit of skyrocketing construction costs. The audit was ordered shortly after the ouster of Rory Livingston, the district’s former assistant superintendent of business, who oversaw construction and renovation of district campuses. Costs exceeded budgets by some $43 million. The board of the William S. Hart Union High School District bought out the remainder of Livingston’s contract, according to a settlement and separation agreement. The settlement was supposed to be paid in 18 monthly installments of $13,014, but district officials said no payments will be made until the audit is examined. “No one is blaming Mr. Livingston for what’s happened, but we thought it best to have a set of independent eyes look at our practices and tell us what we did well and what we did not so well,” Superintendent Jaime Castellanos said Tuesday. Board members hope the audit will help answer their questions regarding construction spending. “I hope to find out how much (Livingston) spent, how he applied the resources, and which funds he took it from,” board member Dennis King said in an interview last week. “The first part of the audit is to get a firmer handle on what costs were and where the money came from and the second part is to see what else comes up,” King said. While King said he lost confidence in Livingston’s abilities, he stressed there is no evidence of wrongdoing by the former administrator. “At this point there are no specific allegations of anybody.” [email protected] (661) 257-5254 ——— IF YOU GO The board of the William S. Hart Union High School District will meet at 7:30 p.m. today at the district administrative center, 21515 Centre Pointe Parkway, Santa Clarita.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESurfer attacked by shark near Channel Islands calls rescue a ‘Christmas miracle’Livingston could not be reached for comment. Colbi Technologies Inc. conducted the audit, which will be presented at tonight’s board meeting. The board agreed in July to spend up to $30,000 on the review. Under the separation agreement, Livingston must provide consultant services to the district for 11/2 years at no cost except for gas and mileage, to advise on construction projects started during his tenure at the district. Project costs at Canyon and Saugus high schools, and Arroyo Seco Junior High have run a total of almost $43 million over budget, some of that attributed to unforeseen conditions such as rising material costs and geological problems. Livingston’s employment agreement was automatically renewed Jan. 1. The decision came later to oust him, requiring the buyout. last_img read more