DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -- Seven months after an audit that blamed Georgia Perimeter College's $16 million budget shortfall on financial mismanagement, a former student's effort to get more answers have been stymied.
"They've been slowing down my investigation with exorbitant costs," says David Schick.
Schick was a writer for The Collegian, the Georgia Perimeter student newspaper, when he started digging into the school's massive budget shortfall.
"How do you not know you're using millions in reserve funds you have?" said Schick. "How is there not checks and balances between the school and the university system?"
Schick has made three efforts to obtain public documents related to the shortfall. Georgia Perimeter is asking for more than $2,000 before they'll supply Schick with the requested paperwork.
Late last year, the state Board of Regents released the results of an audit that concluded the school "started spending more than it earned" beginning in 2009. Although revenues increased after that year, the audit says that "GPC's spending exceeded its revenue each year."
The audit did not say precisely where the overspending took place.
"It is difficult to determine exactly where the budget was overspent," the audit reads. "The beginning budget was not allocated correctly among departments and amendments were not posted to the financial system."
The audit also states that there was no evidence of fraud, although the former school president alleged fraud by some of his former employees.
School president Anthony Tricoli lost his job. Nearly 300 Georgia Perimeter College employees were let go.
Schick kept digging. He has asked for records related to the overspending, as well as the methods used by Perimeter College to decide which employees would lose their jobs.
An attorney has come to his aid in an effort to convince the school to lower its cost. Georgia Perimeter hasn't budged.
A spokesperson responded to our questions with an email.
"The fees quoted to Mr. Schick are based on the estimated time needed to carefully review, redact, and protect information contained within personnel records of GPC employees," wrote Barbara Obrentz.
11Alive is in the process of filing open records requests in hopes of answering some of the lingering questions.