Saturday, December 05, 2015

CCSD's Long-Needed Audit, Part 4

From this blog, May 31, 2007:

The appropriateness of William Safire's term--MEGO--struck me as I watched the tape of last Tuesday's meeting of the CCSD Board of Trustees. On the new school budget, MEGO--that's short for "my eyes glaze over"--truly applied as the millions of dollars flew in the air and on the Power Point and the millage fluctuated in Don Kennedy's presentation. Kennedy will not soon be named a reality-TV-show host.

It's hard to take any of it seriously (although I know the participants functioned as required by law) when on the Tuesday prior to the legislature's recess, no "hold harmless" legislation had been passed for a more-than-$10-million shortfall from the state. Yet the district mode was full- steam-ahead, counting on promises alone.

Then there's the not-so-small question raised by Ravenel regarding the accuracy of Kennedy's millage estimate. The estimate seemed to account for all the difference in other potential shortfalls and cuts. See, I did manage to stay focused for most of the presentation.

Yet the drone was punctuated, however briefly, by interesting questions and responses.

The previously-requested comparison of CCSD administrative costs in regard to other school districts was one such topic. Whether deliberately or not, the CCSD's accounting set-up for "leadership" contains ingredients not comparable to most other districts. Workers' compensation and insurance costs are included, whereas most other districts distribute those costs to individual schools. 

Moody made some silly remarks about allocating those costs to the schools so that the Board could claim that it had provided another $7 million to schools. I say, someone on the Board needs to request COMPARABLE percentages. Yes, that would require some research, but wasn't that the point of the Board's request in the first place? Obfuscation.

Second, did I hear correctly that the cost of Workers' Compensation had been reduced 83% in the last year???? What the heck was going on in previous years?

Also, the district's being forced to use an incorrect figure posted last Feb. 1st by the State Department of Education is yet another example of incompetence at the state level and belated response by CCSD. Since the correct number is known, and that correction adds money to CCSD, why has the Board not already pursued a legal opinion?

Last, but not least, Ravenel pointedly brought up the auditing process for the district. Frankly, I was at first relieved to hear that there WAS an audit. His point, however, was dead on:  Kennedy sits on the committee that selects the auditing firm that audits. . . Kennedy.

Why do the Board members insist on creating conflicts of interest? For example, Nancy Cook makes a big deal of abstaining from voting on CCSD funds distributed to the shelter she directs, but she's still board chairman, isn't she? Surely we have progressed from the "we're-all-ladies-and-gentlemen-here-and-can-trust-our-pure-motives" mindset?

In fact, why have written contracts? Let's do everything on a handshake, like in the good old days.

Would that we could!

We can now add, why pay any attention to the budget? No one else does.

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