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Fraser Smith's Essay: October 11, 2012
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October 11, 2012
An audit of Baltimore Schools has uncovered a range of deficiencies. The city’s hope for state help in the two-billion-dollar school reconstruction project may be in jeopardy. WYPR’s Senior News Analyst Fraser Smith comments in his weekly essay.
The old line political bosses would have looked like reformers in comparison to whoever it is that should be watching jobs and salaries and contracts at city schools.
You may not believe it, dear listener, but here’s what the state’s auditors have found:
A school administrator was overpaid by $100,000 – after a demotion and pay cut didn’t happen.
Dozens of teachers and administrators were over paid.
Four employees received a total of 200 more vacation days than they earned under the union contract.
A part-time worker in the system’s main office simultaneously owned an instructional contracting company that was paid $34,500 from the school system.
I could go on. The auditors did go on.
City representatives in Annapolis say the findings undermine their ability to borrow. Who will want to loan the city money for school construction – or anything else?
And, of course, who will want to go on paying taxes?
The mayor says she expects better. We are not reassured. Her administration’s handling of a $675,000 new phone season has also come under criticism.
Who is watching the store? Where is the alarm? The auditors’ finding of fault is so widespread that someone’s job should be in jeopardy. Bu you wonder if anyone would be left to operate the schools?
In one of the cases cited above, it looks as if disciplinary action was ignored. A demotion and a pay cut simply never happened, according to the auditors.
We need some hands on governing – in city hall and at the school department. This performance looks like an advertisement for contracting out.
Commentaries from WYPR’s Senior News Analyst Fraser Smith are a regular Thursday feature on WYPR. You’re invited to respond at email@example.com.
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