Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Accountability returns to DPS

The results of a district-wide audit are in and they're as bad as anyone feared. Just five DPS schools out of 194 had a "clean" audit. The rest had accounting errors or outright theft, including "misappropriation of cash, loans made to officials using school funds, funds diverted to personal accounts, and missing money from dances and sports activities."

And no surprise: the district eliminated its internal audit department four years ago. Of course, that didn't stop widespread petty theft a decade ago, when according to the Detroit News, "auditors found nearly $2 million in missing or misspent money during a review of the 270 schools, including a principal accused of buying booze and sending a son on a trip to Italy with school funds, another accused of taking school money as loans, while others used the money for cell phones, staff luncheons and fraternity dues."

This time, the wrongdoers need to be fired and/or prosecuted, and protocols must be put in place to prevent abuse at this scale from repeating itself yet again. Let's hope Emergency Financial Manager Robert C. Bobb is up to the job. He can't just expose past problems; he has to fix them for the future, too.

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