Last Friday, Delaware State Rep. Earl Jaques responded to a post I put up on Facebook concerning the Delaware State Auditor’s office. One of his replies was news to me as well as everyone else I asked about this reveal.
The fun began when I went on an early morning John Marino Facebook endorsement spree. I brought up several topics and why I supported Marino, including this:
A lot of people responded to these posts but the last person I expected a reply from was my former House Bill 50 enemy/House Bill 399 fighter, State Rep. Earl Jaques. Earl’s response was baffling…
Earl is absolutely right that every single school district in the state is supposed to get an annual audit. However, according to Earl, this is done all the time and he has seen these audits. Too bad the rest of Delaware hasn’t. I’ve been included in no less than 5 gazillion emails from Jack Wells to legislators, citizens and members of the media where this very subject comes up constantly. Delaware State Auditor Tom Wagner never replies to these emails. But no one has ever indicated these annual required-by-law audits are actually done. But Earl Jaques seems to think they are because he has seen the reports. I look on the website for the auditor’s office all the time and I have never seen them.
So my public request to Earl Jaques is to let the rest of Delaware see them. According to Earl, there has been some wrongdoing found in these reports. How come we don’t know about this, we the people of Delaware who pay the taxes which allow our school districts to be audited in the first place? Earl, are you willing to send me every single auditor’s report you have ever received regarding Delaware’s school districts? I would love to see them. If they are only distributed to select people, I don’t think that is the intent of Delaware state code. It would also put a severe damper on transparency of state agencies.
As well, I was not aware Wagner’s office was fully manned. Is it fully manned based on what it was before the Joint Finance Committee cut their budget years ago or fully manned based on the budget passed last July 1st? I’m pretty sure that office would love to have their budget restored to what it once was.
Am I just throwing gas on a fire? No. Title 14 is very clear about this expectation. I’m just going to go head and put the whole part up with one part bolded for emphasis:
§ 1504 Audit.
(a) The Auditor of Accounts shall each year as soon as possible after July 1 audit the business and financial transactions, records, and accounts of the Department of Education, the State Board of Education, the Delaware Center for Education Technology, the Delaware Advisory Council for Career and Vocational Education, the boards of education of the school districts, and, if required by § 513(d) of this title, the charter schools created under Chapter 5 of this title.
(b) The Auditor of Accounts shall publish the results of such audit and shall also mention the name of any person who has made within the last year a gift to said funds, with the amount or value thereof.
(c) In order to ensure that authorized position complements are not exceeded, the Auditor of Accounts is directed to incorporate an examination of the number of authorized positions versus the number of actual positions a district has employed as part of the regular, annual audit review for all public school district audits that commence on or after July 1, 1991. This position audit function shall include, in addition to formula salary positions, an examination of positions and associated “option units” authorized by the Secretary of Education under any appropriation.
(d) Any discrepancy found by the Auditor of Accounts which has resulted in a local school district expending more general funds than it was entitled to during the fiscal year being audited shall be promptly reported to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, the Controller General and the Secretary of Education. Upon review and determination as to the status of the questioned expenditure, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Controller General and the local school district Board of Education shall develop and certify a written repayment plan.
(e) The local school district may choose to make the required General Fund reimbursement from its local current operating expense account or by agreeing not to utilize a current year General Fund appropriation for which it is otherwise eligible based on unit entitlements. Reimbursements required by this section shall be transacted during the fiscal year in which the over-expenditure is discovered unless the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and the Controller General agree that the timing of the discovery or the potential impact on the affected district is such that satisfying the obligation in part or in its entirety should be deferred until the next ensuing fiscal year.
(f) In order to assist the Auditor of Accounts in the performance of this function local school districts are instructed to maintain records and make them available in a format that will facilitate this review.
And Ms. Eastburn, I too am very curious about when charges will come up against the Providence Creek Academy alleged money bandit. I would guess any day now.