Audit Not the Last Word According to Baltimore County School Board Chair | WYPR

Audit Not the Last Word According to Baltimore County School Board Chair

Apr 11, 2019

Baltimore County Board of Education Chairwoman Kathleen Causey
Credit Baltimore County Public Schools

Audio will be posted Thursday morning.  

The audit of the Baltimore County Schools’ procurement practices, released to the public on Wednesday, shows no evidence of corruption.  But school board chairwoman Kathleen Causey said the investigation into the county school system is not over.

 

 

Interim School Superintendent Verletta White said the findings lift a cloud that was hovering over the school system and her as well.

 

When asked about that, Causey said, “I think it’s too soon to say that.”

 

Causey said the audit, which was ordered by the previous school board, did not go far enough. Causey and other board members are suggesting a second audit, a phase 2, that could look into as many as 180 contracts. This one reviewed 18.

 

“And that there were ethical policies that were not addressed in this original scope that I think would be wise to evaluate in the future,” Causey said.

 

Causey said that could be done with a second external audit or perhaps by the school board or the system’s own auditors. 

 

But White said a second audit is not necessary.

 

“I didn’t see anything egregious in phase 1 that would warrant phase 2,” White said.

 

The audit came after the Dallas Dance years. Dance resigned as school superintendent in 2017, then was convicted of perjury for lying about outside consulting work he did while superintendent. 

 

School board members at the time, as well as legislators and parents wondered if Dance’s actions signaled more problems below the surface so the board ordered the audit. But White said she knew all along that was not the case, adding she was not surprised that the audit found nothing scandalous.

 

“The actions of a few do not dictate or flavor our entire organization,” White said.

 

There were a dozen minor issues flagged by the audit.

 

The biggest problem found was that staff and school board members failed to file financial disclosure statements on time. Between 2012 and 2017, 20 percent of the statements from the school board members were filed late. Three current board members, Chairwoman Causey, Vice Chair Julie Henn and board member Roger Hayden each missed annual deadline filings once. Also, White did not file her statement on time in 2016. 

 

The auditor recommends mandatory training on how to file the statements for all board members, as well as employees who are required to file them.

 

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski said in a statement he was glad that there do not appear to be any serious red flags in the audit. Olszewski added he hopes the school board will act swiftly on the auditor’s recommendations.

 

Causey said the board will take up putting a corrective plan in place at its next meeting.