Dallas ISD Audit Says District Ignored Hiring Rules; District Says, Hey, That Audit's Private!

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Plotting a new course for Dallas ISD was never going to be a quick or easy thing. It's a huge bureaucracy and one that's laden with problems, some that are common to all large, diverse urban school districts, some that are DISD-specific, a legacy of administrations passed. So Superintendent MIke MIles deserved -- and still deserves -- some slack. His cabinet-level salaries have raised eyebrows, and he got off on a shaky foot with teachers, but if his decisions ultimately lead to an improvement in student performance, as he claims, then those are just growing pains.

Still, you know the administration has stepped in it big time when DISD sends out a late-night press release promising a full response to an internal audit and taking pains to point out that the audit really wasn't supposed to be released quite yet.

The press release became clearer when the Morning News published this story last night, which breaks down the audit report.

Some of the findings are picayune. Certain high-level positions were never publicly posted in violation of district procedures, and 14 of 18 employees did not follow the district's clock-in procedures. What gives greater cause for concern is the apparent disregard with which "senior management" -- the audit, per the News, does not identify who this might be -- treats established financial rules.

Two employees weren't offered moving expenses but were given a combined $8,131 anyways. Others were reimbursed for house-hunting trips, temporary lodging after the date of hire, and a questionable car rental. One $4,082 invoice for moving expenses was apparently fraudulent.

The district's main defense at this point is that the release of the audit was premature. Trustee Eric Cowan, who chairs the board's audit committee, said in the press release that it's a draft and that its release now "violates standard audit procedures."

"A cursory review indicates that there were no serious infractions," Miles is quoted in the release as saying. "If any errors were made during the process of hiring senior staff during the summer, I take full responsibility as they were made out of a sense of urgency to get ready for the school year."

That may be so, but basic financial controls may get in the way of swift, decisive action, but they are there for a reason. (Insert reference to disgraced former superintendent Yvonne Gonzalez here.) And it's not as if Miles didn't know the rules. According to the audit, he was reminded of them frequently by district staff and, according to the News, by former chief of staff Alan King.

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9 comments
fromtexasbygod
fromtexasbygod

Well that didn't take long.  The arrogance of razzle dazzle executives like Mike Miles sooner or later exposes their disdain of bothersome rules and policies that they believe are only applicable to the peons.   The DISD board had better invest in the most advanced top of the line BS meter that money can buy.

toldu
toldu

Told you so. Told you that hiring a Broad superintendent is asking for a high rolling jackass to take over the school district just like the last high roller and all his cronies. Look around the nation. Any time a Broad superintendent takes the reigns, all the money rolls right out the door.

Told that $1.5 million wasn't being "saved," that Miles had no intention of saving anything for anybody. Told you he is an arrogant fraud, but you, Eric, probably know better than all of us who have watched the same scenario of bowing down for the new boss just like the old boss. Good old Belo thought they had a winner, and teachers were screaming fraud from the beginning, but what would they know, right. The new sheriff was brought here to clean out all those lazy teachers making 1/6 the salary of the supt and his new cronies.

Quit rolling over and playing dead every time a new huckster hits town. You don't have the credentials to make any judgements and you really screwed the pooch on this one.

SaveOurSchools
SaveOurSchools

Call the Mayor! Or is he Citizen Mike today? Call Arne! Oops Race is over and we lost. Call FBI..oh wait they are busy on another Dallas case.

jared.heath
jared.heath

So....its premature because the draft hadn't been sanitized yet.

I think I know why this thing got "leaked"....somebody smelled the cleaning crew coming for the "audit".

Cliffhanger
Cliffhanger

Cowan continues to suck up valuable oxygen that could better be used to support rabid polecats and scorpions.

No wonder King is out of there. He at least had a passing familiarity with words like "competence" and "integrity." I'm glad my kids will be done with DISD in a couple of years before it completely implodes.

marple
marple

Eric, based on your statement: "but if his decisions ultimately lead to an improvement in student performance, as he claims, then those are just growing pains.", it seems as though you are one of those people who would advocate a policy of "the ends justify the means."

This is dangerous.  To say that it is OK to behave unethically, to ignore the rules everyone else must follow, to submit false claims for reimbursement, etc., etc., all in the name of "increased student performance" will ultimately lead the district down the wrong path. 

I have strong doubts that any of this behavior will lead to increased student performance.  Miles' reforms are without merit and we will NOT see any increase in student performance due to his shenanigans. He has increased the numbers of students in the elementary classroom to 26 and above, he has left many secondary classes with permanent substitutes in core classes, and he has forced teachers to dumb down their teaching by his overemphasis on grade school teaching methods which have no research to back them up. On top of that, you would allow him to steal from the district. 

You can't put any more lipstick on this pig. Mike Miles is what he is, and if Dallas refuses to learn from his history in Colorado Springs, then we are doomed to repeat it here in Dallas, which is exactly what is going on. 

James080
James080 topcommenter

Miles very quickly figured out that rules don't apply to him, and the gutless wonders on the DISD Board of Trustees seem to be too worried about their political futures to admit they have been played.

PrestonHoller
PrestonHoller

So, let’s get this straight: Miles ignores District policy in financial matters after being continually warned by senior administration that his actions violate District policy? And we are supposed to believe that no “serious” infractions occur.

Somewhere, Yvonne Gonzales is on a tractor screaming that nothing she did was a “serious” infraction either.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

Rules are for suckers.

Better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission. Right, Mike?

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