Monday, February 16, 2009

Embarrassments in CCSD's March to Excellence

Is the Charleston County School District fudging the numbers in its attempt to close five schools by pleading financial hardship? It would appear so from the slipshod financial shenanigans used by the district to report local tax revenues.

According to one well-placed source,
"In the interim budget report given to [CCSD] board members last month, Mike Bobby admits current tax revenues are above what was budgeted. [italics mine] Then he says in writing the "overage" will not be reported as this year's revenue but will instead be "carried over" and reported in next year's tally. What he's also not saying is ad valorum revenues are recurring. So this year's surplus revenues (unreported as such) will be compounded when placed on top of the same low-balled revenue projections next year."
The source also confirmed that
"[. . .] All delinquent taxes are carried forward and paid in full by the following year (even if property is sold for back taxes or as a result of foreclosure), so the "uncollected" figures aren't really a loss to CCSD as the $5M-or-more item in the annual budget shows. Don Kennedy once spent over an hour arguing that unpaid taxes, past or present, were a normally projected revenue loss for a governmental agency. [. . . ] CCSD is confusing private business and government accounting. These are a few of the many ways CCSD makes the budget picture hard to understand."
I wonder if Kennedy gets away with that in Seattle.

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