The Delaware Department of Education held their first public meeting for Senate Bill #172 which is supposed to show clear transparency with education funding so people can compare how much schools are spending compared to other schools. The poorly attended event, filled with the usual stakeholders and barely anyone from the general public, showcased a Department that really doesn’t know what this bill means or what they plan to do with it. In other words, they have a scorching case of pretendonitis. Continue reading
By Delaware state code, we should be seeing this report every single year. In any event, Delaware State Auditor Tom Wagner released the Fiscal Year 2016 report today. Yes, a year and a half after that fiscal year ended. And guess what the overall finding was? We don’t know what districts are spending cause everyone codes their expenses differently in the state financial system. And this report states the state ALLOWS the districts to do this. They have discretion. What a crock of…
In an attempt to categorize spending items as instructional or non-instructional for further analysis, the Office of Auditor of Accounts (AOA) extracted all voucher and PCard expenditures made from State and local funds by each of the 19 school districts. However, the State’s financial system has over 11,000 active appropriations and over 1,500 active account codes available for use. As a result, we found inconsistencies in expenditure coding across the 19 school districts that prevented us from performing an in-depth analysis of expenditures.
They named nine areas that are either prohibited by accounting rules or were not used for a functional educational purpose. Some of these are sports lottery, florists, online games, and table games. Are you kidding me? And the report found over $98,000 was used for in-state meals. I can picture it now, Joe Superintendent says to himself “I feel like going to Friendly’s for lunch today”. This is absolutely ridiculous. The inspection found that many of these “inconsistencies” were due to human error. Uh-huh. Yes, I get that humans make errors. But how do you miscode sticky buns?
When it comes to food, it looks like Cape Henlopen and Lake Forest looooove to eat out! The report talks about WaWa purchases. I’m sorry, but since when is fast food or deli considered an in-state food purchase? Do what the rest of us do and pay from your own damn wallet. I don’t pay taxes so you can celebrate Hoagiefest all year long!
But this little bit about Lake Forest…wow!
In December 2015, the Lake Forest School District held a holiday dinner for board members, administrators, and their spouses at The Rookery Golf Club in Milford, Delaware, totaling $1,899.30. (This amount is included in the in-State meal transactions described above in the “Employee Recognition purposes” category since administrators were recognized.) A handwritten note on the invoice stated it was approved at a special board meeting in executive session on October 14, 2015.
Are you friggin’ kidding me? Sounds like higher-ups are feasting on the fatted calf called the Delaware accounting system. And with no oversight whatsoever, this is only scratching the iceberg.
And how in the name of God can you have in-state lodging for any school district in this state? You can drive up and down the state in less than two hours. And it looks like Red Clay was the biggest offender.
Not one look into all the vendors school districts use. Not one peak into the millions of dollars going to vendors who write reports and supply schools with cash-in-the-trash ideas. Not one bit. Disgusting. It’s no wonder none of the school districts want to consolidate. God forbid someone actually get a good hard look into how they spend money!
The best part about all this? They could have read my blog posts in July and August of 2016 to do this report. What the hell took them a year and a half to do a report that anyone with an excel file could figure out in three days? It is time for our elected legislators to get the hell off their collective asses and pass some laws indicating school districts and charter schools can NO LONGER use discretion when submitting their expenditures to the state. This is a third of their budget and they are given carte blanche to do pretty much whatever the hell they want. Sure, most of it is most likely legit but when your own state auditor can’t make heads or tails of where well over $1 billion dollars is going, I have some major issues with that. This is unacceptable and it will no longer be tolerated. I don’t care how much time I have to spend at Legislative Hall in 2018 to drum this into their heads. When education loses tons of money each year but we have wine and dine events at the local country club, that is absurd. This is EXACTLY what I wanted to talk to John Carney about after he was elected. But he had to go and blow me off. Big mistake. It’s not like I didn’t warn people this was going on. They just didn’t want to hear it. Carney just wanted to set up his self-destruct mechanisms for Delaware education, just like his predecessor. And as he sets off on his warped plan to charterize Wilmington schools, he could care less about where the money is going.
Delaware legislators: Cut the crap. I don’t want to hear your whining and complaining come next June about the budget and how you are doing everything you can. Change some laws. Make crap accountable and stop kissing asses all over the state. Do your job! The jig is up. I don’t necessarily blame the auditor’s office for all this. They inspect what they are able to. It is our General Assembly that needs to wake the hell up. You have allowed this scenario to happen. You have allowed this “discretion” that makes a Rubik’s Cube in a three-year-old’s hands look easy compared to the hot mess called First State Financials. No more excuses. Pass legislation demanding that every single expenditure be coded in a uniform way among ALL school districts and charter schools. And yes, charter schools should have been included in this report as well. But no way in hell would that happen because this report would have found a lot more “inconsistencies” and we all know it. But the General Assembly as a whole likes to protect and coddle them. Exactly what is wrong with Delaware education. If I sound pissed off, it’s cause I am. And every single taxpayer in this state should be ticked off as well.
To read this obscenity where money is unaccountable and untrackable and uncrackable and takes money away from where it is truly needed, please read below.