Sunday, December 06, 2015

Unheeded Call for CCSD Forensic Audit: April 2008

"Perfect Storm" of a budget process this year for the Charleston County School District, at least according to its superintendent? How about a Perfect Opportunity?

In coming weeks we will begin to hear about what must be cut from CCSD's operating budget. No one will like it. Superintendent McGinley has already prepared the way with her budget "forums" in various parts of the district. 

Needless to say, this process has been long on promising an "excellent" education for every child in the district, and short on details of how this miracle will be accomplished next year for the 
first time ever! The video of McGinley and the Power Point presentation on the CCSD website have little detail beyond stating that we will have less to spend and more bills to pay in 2009. These public "forums" appear to have been designed to be as nonspecific as possible while meeting the minimum requirements for public hearings. Why hasn't the School Board pointed out to McGinley how misleading and ultimately undermining of public confidence such a process is?

No one in the community will trust the budget process until CCSD's expenditures are transparent. Here is CCSD's opportunity to begin regaining trust by starting, as a reader has suggested, with a truly independent forensic audit of the entire financial operation. Not only does the District have the need, it's the perfect time with a new Chief Financial Officer just come on board.

Several years ago the last one, limited just to cell-phone usage, saved about a million dollars in the first year by plugging the holes in the system allowing expensive and duplicate contracts while being unable to prevent abuse of the equipment by some CCSD employees.

Here's the opportunity to take the same approach with the bus system, food services, concessions, facilities management, copy equipment, etc. CCSD could save many times annually what it recovered on the cell-phone system.

A good forensic auditor wouldn't cost CCSD a dime. The auditor's work can be paid for by a reasonable and relatively small percentage of whatever money it actually recovers for CCSD and whatever is documented as saving the district in the first year after it identifies measurable waste and how to stop it.

Okay, so that won't solve this year's problems. It's a start.

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