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Womack Calling for School System Investigation

The DeKalb County Board of Education member representing District 4 wants someone to look into school system finances.

DeKalb County Board of Education member Paul Womack is calling for an investigation of the school system's finances due to a systemwide budgetary descent from a projected surplus last year to its current $6 million deficit.

The District 4 representative first called for the investigation when the school board passed its $760 million budget last month.

From a story in Neighbor Newspapers about Womack's concerns:

“We were told at the beginning of 2011-12 there would be a $93 million operating surplus at the end of this year,” said Womack. “Then we were told we’d have $53 million … now we’re projected to have a deficit of minus $6 [million]. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that something’s wrong.”

He said he's already contacted the state to investigate the school system's finance and human resources departments.

For more information, read the rest of the story.

What do you think about Womack's request? Tell us in the comments section below.

jessie July 08, 2012 at 01:10 PM
Every school system should have a "Watch Dog Group" to find out where the money is going...Otherwise, the money is going into the pockets of the "Higher Rank Authorities Wallet".
Jo July 08, 2012 at 01:14 PM
Go WOMACK!! Finally, someone who realizes that it doesn't make sense that our schools (and other government services) are always near the bottom in the national ratings, but our expenses are closer to the top! It seems to me that Georgia has an unusually high degree of corruption among civil servants who have access to government money or to power/ability to take bribes (e.g. inspectors). Whatever we need to do to get the message across--to fully prosecute offenders and to get responsible people with integrity into civil service jobs--is a good thing.
JuliaMcElroy July 08, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Isn't the "Watch Dog Group" called a "School Board"? Where have they been this whole time? It took 15 minutes to explain to Sarah Copelin-Wood how an operating budget works during the budget hearings. I'm still not sure she understands.
Jonathan Cribbs July 08, 2012 at 07:55 PM
School boards are not typically watchdog groups. Their job is essentially to hire a superintendent, set expectations and pass a budget (and individual expenses beyond a certain threshold). They're not equipped, generally speaking, to perform investigations or identify budgetary malfeasance, particularly if it's complicated.
Tina Edwards July 08, 2012 at 09:53 PM
Totally support Womack in this attempt to find out what is going on in our school system - follow the money and see where it leads.
Cal M. Sandman July 08, 2012 at 10:35 PM
I cannot find anywhere that the DeKalb School Board employs an independent CPA firm to conduct an annual audit of all financial activities of the DeKalb County School System, as the county government does. Surely this can't be true. It is my understanding that the school board only uses state auditors for this work, whose findings could be of a policital nature. DeKalb County government has been conducting such audits since 1971. Does anyone know?
Jonathan Cribbs July 08, 2012 at 11:06 PM
I can check this week, but I'm almost positive the school system has annual audits performed by an independent firm. That doesn't necessarily mean a whole lot, however. Every school district I've ever covered that had some sort of financial snafu had its budget audited yearly. There's a difference between an audit and a financial investigation.
John Davis July 09, 2012 at 12:54 PM
A financial investigation from an independent agency is not only necessary, it is required. For too long the School Board has been manipulated by it's hired staff and the in-fighting among it's own elected members...
John Davis July 09, 2012 at 12:57 PM
I wholly endorse Mr. Womack's recommendation for an independent financial investigation. Along with the recommendation, I recommend that any increase in property taxes (millage increase) be placed on hold until after the investigation.
Medlock Park Resident July 09, 2012 at 05:55 PM
As a local CPA with a firm that audits most of the local school systems and many of the local governments I can tell you that DeKalb is the only one who does not have an independent public firm do an audit. They have firm's do some procedures for different funds or projects on occassion, but they only have the general State Board of Audits audit done. Locally Gwinnett, Cobb, APS, Fulton, Forsyth, Bartow, etc all have an independent firm perform their audit.

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