Audit: D.C. Public School overspent 2013 budget

OVER BUDGET: The DC Public School overspent its budget by more than eight percent in 2013, according to a D.C. audit.

By Moriah Costa | Watchdog.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A division of the D.C. Public School overspent its budget by more than 8 percent in 2013, according to a report by the Office of the District of Columbia Auditor.

The School System Management division, which provides operational, leadership and management support to the school district, spent $64.5 million in fiscal 2013 — $5 million over its budget of $59.5 million, according to the report.

The school district did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

The District of Columbia Anti-Deficiency Act allows government agencies to overspend by 5 percent, although those rules don’t apply to divisions within an agency.

Representatives of the DCPS told auditors the division went over budget because the original plan did not include “administrative premium pay to salaries.”

According to the report, the school district could not provide documentation of how the division spent its money because “they had deleted all FY 2013 reports.”

It did, however, provide the auditors with one quarterly expenditure report for 2013. Watchdog.org filed a Freedom Of Information Act request with the DCPS for the expenditure reports for 2013. The district has until Wednesday to respond.

The also noted the budget process is not transparent, and to learn where money was spent in 2013 one would have to look at three sources — the DCPS 2013 budget, the budget guide, and school specific data on the DCPS website.

In addition, the audit found the SSM division budget was allocated to seven divisions and that employees were unsure about its purpose.

“When asked about the SSM division, several DCPS employees were unfamiliar with what the SSM budget division was designed to achieve,” the audit stated.

DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson submitted a letter to the auditor in response, saying the school district adjusted its accounts to better reflect the district’s organizational structure. She also stated that the report did not make a distinction between the DCPS and the Office of the Chief Financial Officer.

“By itself, DCPS does not have access to the information required to monitor effectively and does not have the authority to make budget changes independently,” the letter stated.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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