Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Who will watch the fox?

Well, well, well.  It seems someone doesn't want outsiders looking at public schools in Mississippi.  HB #905 would have transferred the authority to audit public schools from the State Auditor to the Mississippi Department of Education.  The bill stated:

TO REQUIRE THE UNIFORM ACCOUNTING SYSTEM PRESCRIBED BY THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION FOR ALL SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO INCLUDE A METHOD TO KEEP RECORDS OF ALL LOCAL, STATE AND FEDERAL FUNDS; TO AMEND SECTION 37-61-29, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO TRANSFER THE AUTHORITY TO CONDUCT FINANCIAL AUDITS ON SCHOOL DISTRICTS FROM THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF AUDIT TO THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.

The current law is Section 37-61-29 of the Mississippi Code:

The state department of audit is hereby authorized and empowered to post-audit and investigate the financial affairs and all transactions involving the school funds of the county including the minimum education program fund and supplementary district school funds, and to make separate and special audits thereof, as now provided by Sections 7-7-201 through 7-7-215, Mississippi Code of 1972.

Section 2 of the bill states:

SECTION 2. Section 37-61-29, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-61-29. The State Department of * * * Education shall audit and investigate the financial affairs and all transactions involving the * * * local, state and federal funds of * * * each school district in the state, including the * * *adequate education program funds and supplementary school district * * * funds * * *. Further, the department may make separate and special audits * * * of the financial affairs and transactions involving school district funds.
 The bill was sponsored by Representative Beckie Currie.  The bill passed out of the House Education Committee but died in the House.   Copy of bill. 

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Do our in state legislators know how to read, or do they vote to waste our money based on lobbyists' influences. Keep the foxes out of the hen house and vote with your heart not your wallets.

Anonymous said...

Was a call placed to Miz Currie to get her explanation for this?

Louis LeFleur said...

10:22, at least some of them can read, but don't. From my experience, everyone just votes however their party leadership tells them to vote. There is no reading, no (intelligent/informed) discussion. Really a pretty sick way of "governing".

Anonymous said...

I don't agree with the bill, but apparently our State Auditor only looks for porn on school computers and daydreams of higher office. So... what exactly would we be losing with this?

Anonymous said...

Seems like a good idea to let MDE audit how school districts are spending tax dollars if they are going to be held responsible for those dollars by the Legislature, Feds, etc.

Anonymous said...

I don't really see anything wrong with this...basically mandating MDE to be responsible for all federal and state dollars flowing through our school systems. This doesn't change the fact that MDE can still be audited.

Anonymous said...

Several of the comments here indicate that people do not understand the purpose of a financial audit. Each school district has to prepare annual financial statements. The job of the state auditor is to perform or contract with a CPA firm to perform an audit of the financial statements. The purpose of the audit is to render an opinion regarding whether the financial statements fairly present the financial position of the school district at the end of a fiscal year.

Although fraud may be found during an audit, searching for fraud is not the purpose of an audit. Also, determining how money from local, state, or federal sources has been spent is not the purpose of a financial audit. A separate audit process, known as a single audit,is performed to determine if federal funds are spend appropriately and this is very different from a financial audit.

If responsibility for school audits were given to MDE, then MDE would have to contract with CPA firms to perform the audits and would need the funds to pay the firms. Also, a CPA at MDE would have to be professionally competent in auditing to discuss audit related matters with the CPA firms. CPAs in the state auditor office perform these duties.

If anyone would like example of school district financial audits, see Kingfish's story regarding "A Tale of Two School Districts".

Anonymous said...

For all those MDE appointees that don't see anything wrong with MDE determining how the districts spend the state and federal money, I assume you think that the Dept of Corrections should audit how all the local work centers, Parchman, Central MS, etc spend their dollars. Or that the Dept of Health measures how its district offices and local funded agencies spend their state and federal dollars. Guess we could just shut down the state auditor's office and trust everybody to honestly report their finances.

To those that point to the porn on the state funded computers, you skipped over the recent audit of MDE - requested by the feds - that found significant misspending and contracting activities by the Auditor's office at MDE. But hey, those don't really count do they? We can depend on truly honest reports out of Central High when it comes to money, success, hiring, promoting, etc can't we?

Anonymous said...

I don't give a rat shit if MDE audits schools; however, there should be an outside agency auditing and reporting to the state and making the audits available. Who the hell in private practice audits itself? Who the hell in any governmental agency or funding source is the sole auditor of its own activities?

MDE being the soul auditor is about as nonsensical as JPS auditing itself or MDE being the sole source information office on 'friendly contracts' and the bullshit that woman pumps through the pipeline that is Public Education in this state.

Whoever submitted, sponsored or signed off on this bill is not a friend to the taxpayer of this state. But wait....these are the same people who, over the decades, have increased their own retirement, doubled their pension plans and secretly attempted to enrich their per diem, travel expenses and lodging reimbursement.

Kingfish said...

Since Wright, Porter, and Stokes took over MDE, the amount of raw data readily available to the public has shrunk to a trickle of info. I don't trust them with the data. Let's just say it might be massaged if they are in charge of the audits.

Anonymous said...

Why is this an issue? The bill died along with hundreds of other bad bills.

Anonymous said...

It's an issue because we deserve to know what was up when we weren't watching. And it's a wake up call as to what we might have awakened to one Monday morning in July, its effective date, had it passed.

This is the kind of thing that makes us pay better attention.

Anonymous said...

Every bill should have an explanation of what the actual reason/purpose of the bill. Otherwise, the hidden agendas will always remain hidden.

Anonymous said...

9:09 actually, the bill did pass the House, so it is likely to be brought up again. Thanks KF for shedding light on this. The audits simply have to be separate from the audited entity. Otherwise, it's not an audit!

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