Last year, the fine was for not meeting the exact limit of class size when the real cap kicked in for the first time since the law was passed.
In the eight years since the passage of the class size amendment, the district met the requirements involving tighter and tighter requirements that adjusted every two years.
District wide, school wide and class wide.
Ultimately, in the 2010 – 2011 school year, the final class by class cap was applied and for the first time, the district missed.
The fine was $732,000.
But the requirements were ludicrous, giving school districts no leeway at all.
What that meant is that should one more child show up at the door while classes were filled, the school would be forced to hire another teacher.
The legislature saw the problem and loosened the requirements in a way that wouldn’t conflict with the law.
But the district missed once again, and goodness knows how much the fine will be this time.
Why did the district fail to meet class size?
There’s plenty of classroom space, but with more than 1,000 teachers pink slipped last July, there aren’t enough to meet the requirements of the law.
Pink slipping 1,000 teachers saved the district approximately $50 million in salaries and benefits.
Was it a result of the cheapskate legislature or financial mismanagement?
A little of both, but without the latter, the pink slipping wouldn’t have been necessary.
A recent short time audit of Design Services, a small unit of the Facilities department, was able to turn up $65,000 in improper payments to employees because of misrepresentation over time and attendance.
They weren’t using the district’s time and attendance system.
$65,000 was what they were able to document without question examining only several months worth of data. Not even a year!
Trust me, this stuff isn’t new by any stretch of the imagination.
Auditor Pat Riley and interim Department Head Tom Lindner didn’t just stumble onto a single, one time instance of employee theft of time and attendance.
During my own tenure, Design Services along with inspectors (another sub group of Facilities) engaged in little more than a pissing war and were responsible for years of delay and millions in costs.
We already know that district transportation has been using pencil filled time sheets rather than the district’s electronic time and attendance system.
The two operative questions are; how many other departments and employees are scamming the district and taxpayers?
And for how long have they been doing it?
That’s not to say all staff is corrupt, but the history of corruption and incompetence has cost the district and taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.
But what we also know is that there are those on staff who purposely twist information and hide the fact that their own are corrupt and stealing from the system.
But it’s much sexier to point fingers at School Board members.
Superintendent Bob Runcie has a long trek ahead in order to rid the system of the incompetents and thieves.