NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas -

The Comal Independent School District has hired an auditing firm to review its 2008 bond program after finding that it may have overpaid $5 million to $7 million for construction projects.

The overpayments were discovered by the district's newly hired Executive Director of Facilities and Maintenance Helen Keaton, who was hired in March and began an internal audit of 13 construction projects.

Comal ISD Board President David Drastata said mistakes were quickly found.

"The results of that audit revealed that there were duplications in job-cost and job-fee," Drastata said. “We really haven't delved into the full scope of the why.

Now the school district has hired a San Antonio firm to do a complete audit of the bond program and expects to find it overpaid contractors $5 million to $7 million.

The district has already had initial conversations with Baird/Williams Construction and SHW Group, the two main contractors chosen for the bonds.

"The district is absolutely committed to doing whatever we can to find out how it happened (and) who was responsible," Drastata said. “Did it happen because of poor oversight at district level or did it happen willfully on the part of SHW (Group) and Baird Williams? We don't know for sure at this time.”

He said those firms are cooperating fully and that the complete audit will determine to what degree the district and the construction firms are to blame.

In an effort to shed more light on possible wrongdoing, the district has also set up a fraud hotline so fraud, waste and abuse can be reported.

The fraud hotline number is: 855-400-6008.

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