Daily Archives: April 8, 2015

It’s time to clean house at the DE DOE charter school office Re: calls for state audits of charter schools

Delaware charter school audits under scrutiny Matthew Albright, The News Journal

In the wake of bombshell allegations that the co-leaders of a charter school made thousands of dollars in personal purchases on school credit cards, some lawmakers want the state auditor’s office to run charter audits to make sure taxpayer money isn’t being misused.

State law:

736 Local School District and Charter School Citizen Budget Oversight Committees

4.0 Committee Members for Charter Schools

4.2 The Committee shall have at least five (5) members with representation from educators and parents of students in the school and representation from the Department of Education. In addition, where possible, the Committee shall have at least two members with formal educational or vocational backgrounds amenable to oversight of school district financial statements. Further provided, Committee members shall not be compensated, except for allowable mileage for training or similar activities, for participation on such Committee.

How could such misuse of public funds happen right under nose of DE DOE? They sit at the table with the school’s financial budget oversight committee as a full committee member. 

Charters are required to have audits done, but now the schools decide who audits them. Rep. Kim Williams, sponsor of House Bill 53, says having the state auditor, who already audits district and vo-tech schools, perform the work is the best way to monitor spending.

I’ll bet Publius buddies comes in crying, “we don’t receive capital funding”.

WTF agian, DE DOE sits on the charter schools CBOC and should be smart enough to ask for itemized credit-card expenditures and when will state legislators legislative a law requiring all traditional, charter and votech schools to use a state P-card? DE DOE knows all about Moyer’s AMX and still does nothing!  

“There are lots of charter schools that are operating under the rules and doing a good job, but when these kinds of things happen it gives them all a bad name,” Williams said. “What this is about is making sure that everybody is playing by the same rules.”

Yep it gives all of them a bad name! But again, the failing oversight of DE DOE needs to be questioned! 

This is from Moyer 2013 Annual Board Retreat Meeting minutes;

A Moyer Credit Card

A motion was presented to provide a credit card for Moyer Academy to use for purchases with the understanding that:

1. Internal controls and spending parameters will be established prior to the acquisition of such a card.

2. An investigation and comparison will be made between the State of Delaware issued card (all rebates belong to the State) and the American Express card in which points belong to the holder and make a recommendation based on the findings of the investigation and comparison will be made to the board for its approval. 

And where was / is DE DOE????

Charter school advocates say they simply need more clarity on what is expected of them and worry that the bill would limit their flexibility and autonomy if it becomes law.

And then there is the difference between playing stupid and being stupid! 

“We’re all about transparency and we are fine with having an audit. In fact, it’s required under state law,” said Kendall Massett, executive director of the Delaware Charter Schools Network. “I do not believe that using a pass-through that will raise the cost and take money out of the classroom is the right solution. I think the solution they’re proposing is bigger than the problem that there is.”

Nothing personal but we’ve had more problems with charter schools since the changing of the guard at DCSN. 

Massett argues charters will have to pay a management fee to the state and that the state-negotiated audit contracts will likely cost some schools more.

But Williams says charters will only have to pay more if they aren’t keeping the right records or otherwise not handling their business correctly. For schools that are already doing everything they are supposed to, she says costs will not significantly rise.

Williams is correct 100%

Rep. Michael Ramone says a change is necessary, but handing duties over to the auditor might not be the right one.

“Everybody looks bad if any of our schools aren’t being fiscally responsible,” Ramone said. “However, as a business guy, the approach I think we should take is to give these schools a clear expectation of what is required of their schools as far as their fiscal responsibility and reporting criteria, and I don’t think we’ve provided that yet.”

It looks bad when state legislators take part in organizing charter schools and play dumb when it comes to leases on personal property. McFly !!!! Why not the state auditor auditing usage of state and local taxpayers funds?  

Ramone said the state should establish a specific, detailed list of everything they expect charters to cover with an audit, so charters can be sure they are hiring the right firm to do the right thing.“If we clearly establish what they’re supposed to be doing, I believe our schools will do it,” he said.

WFT Mike ???????????? The state law “you” supported required DE DOE representatives on the charter schools CBOC! The taxpayers are being robbed as DE DOE play looks-out man waving the crooks past! 

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News Journal Jimmy Olsen failed to mention Delaware votech schools aka public are funded without referendums

Delaware’s system of school tax votes debated Matthew Albright, The News Journal

“I’m one of the people who thinks they should be tightening their belts some,” said Sen. Karen Peterson, the lawmaker who led a challenge to the recent Red Clay referendum. “I think it’s important that these districts be under some level of scrutiny to make sure they’re being as efficient with taxpayer money as possible.”

That would require school employees to pay more for their healthcare, end the step-pay process and end EPER programs.

In 2013, then-Rep. Darryl Scott proposed allowing districts to increase their property tax rates by 3 percent each year without a vote. He argued the current system requires districts to ask for more than they need right now to build up reserves so they can go for longer periods between votes. He said his bill would let districts more gradually increase taxes when they needed them.

The bill was introduced late in the session and did not make it out of committee.

So if this were the law Red Clay taxes would have increased 21% since 2008 (3% a year X 7). So if you were paying $1000.00 in local school taxes in 2008 you’d be paying $1210.00 today, $210.00 more.  Didn’t Scott call it quits as a state legislator?  

Jimmy Olsen neglected to point-out, Delaware votech schools the other public schools are funded without referendums and failed to ask any state legislator if they would favor the same approach for all public school even charters?