Thursday, February 26, 2009

CCSD Needs a Good, Effective State Audit

Where do the tax dollars go? And how many are there? The Charleston County School District's finances are so arcane, and have been for so many decades (probably forever), that to regain public trust a state audit should be conducted.

Gone are the days when we could trust the good ol' boys on a handshake.

Even New York State has recognized that school districts need a watchdog, and not a local one. So reports The New York Times. Preliminary New York auditors' results should interest Low Country taxpayers:

"State auditors found that the Niagara Falls, N.Y., school district overpaid 272 employees by more than $500,000 in 2006, apparently incorrectly sending out an extra paycheck to each of them.

"Separately, they discovered that a laptop computer assigned to a school administrator in Vestal, west of Binghamton, had been used to visit Internet sites for pornography.

"And they determined that districts in Mount Vernon, Newburgh, North Syracuse, Schenectady and Williamsville could have saved a total of $212,000 on electricity if they had shut off computers at night and used power-save settings.


"The audits are the first such routine checks of school district finances in decades, and they were prompted by a scandal in which half a dozen people, including the former superintendent, were convicted of stealing as much as $11.2 million from the Roslyn district on Long Island. “If it could happen in Roslyn, it certainly could happen in any district,” said Mr. DiNapoli, who sponsored the legislation while a state assemblyman from a district including Roslyn. “You really have to be sure that money is not being used in a wasteful way, because for many of the communities, school district spending is such a large part of the property tax burden, which is the most onerous tax for people to pay.”
You don't say! Now there's an idea to cut wasteful spending. Pass it on.

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