BREAKING NEWS!

A draft of the KPMG November 8, 2012 audit appeared on DeKalb County School System’s website yesterday (Wednesday), but by today (Thursday) it had been removed.

If you made a copy of the draft from KPMG that appeared on the DCSS website, please send it to us at dekalbschoolwatch@gmail.com.  You may send it anonymously.

Meanwhile, consider this:   According to O.C.G.A. § 50-6-6 (see below), DeKalb County’s Board of Education is authorized (1) to have an additional audit made (in addition to the required state audit) and (2) to employ certified public accountants to make the audit and (3) to pay for the cost of such audit from funds received for educational purposes (which we read as including state funding). 

O.C.G.A. § 50-6-6

GEORGIA CODE
Copyright 2012 by The State of Georgia
All rights reserved.
*** Current Through the 2012 Regular Session ***
TITLE 50.  STATE GOVERNMENT  
CHAPTER 6.  DEPARTMENT OF AUDITS AND ACCOUNTS  
ARTICLE 1.  GENERAL PROVISIONS
O.C.G.A. § 50-6-6  (2012)

§ 50-6-6.  Audit of school and university systems; local boards of education authorized to employ accountants; generally accepted accounting standards; audit report contents’ 

(a) It shall be the duty of the Department of Audits and Accounts thoroughly to audit and check the books and accounts of the county superintendents of schools and treasurers of local school systems, of municipal systems, of the several units of the University System of Georgia, and of all other schools receiving state aid and making regular and annual reports to the State School Superintendent, showing the amount received, for what purpose received, and for what purposes expended. All such funds held by officials must be kept in banks separate from their individual bank accounts.

(b) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, the local boards of education of the several county, independent, and area public school systems of this state shall be authorized to have an additional audit made of the books, records, and accounts of the public school system over which any such board has jurisdiction. The local boards of education shall be authorized to employ certified public accountants of this state to make the audits and to expend funds for the audits which are received by any such board for educational purposes.

So, all of this begs the question of WHY?  

  1. WHY has no independent full audit been ordered by the DeKalb Board of Education, even as DeKalb Schools fell deeper and deeper into financial trouble?  Is this information not part of the annual continuing education required of school board members? 
  2. WHY was Atkinson, with a highly questionable personal financial history of bankruptcies, allowed to pick-and-choose what would be looked at by KPMG in what appears to be a most cursory and, frankly, non-professional manner?

ALL of this — including KPMG’s involvement — cries out for federal intervention.  A LOUD outcry is warranted.  We encourage you to write letters and make calls.  Bring this to the attention of federal officials (as shown on the opening page of this blog):

Report Suspected Fraud and Criminal Activity

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Mark Guiliano
FBI Special Agent in Charge
2635 Century Parkway N.E., Suite 400
Atlanta, GA 30345
Phone: (404)679-9000

Use the FBI’s online tip form to report suspected terrorism, fraud or criminal activity.

U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ)
Sally Quillian Yates
U. S. Attorney — Northern District of Georgia
Richard B. Russell Federal Building
75 Spring Street, S.W., Suite 600
Atlanta, GA 30303
Phone: (404)581-6000
Fax: (404)581-6181

Don’t waste time or effort with DeKalb County or State of Georgia officials.  If Sam Olens was going to do anything, he already would have.   Olens has been a very BIG disappointment!

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About dekalbschoolwatch

Hosting a dialogue among parents, educators and community members focused on improving our schools and providing a quality, equitable education for each of our nearly 100,000 students. ~ "ipsa scientia potestas est" ~ "Knowledge itself is power"
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31 Responses to BREAKING NEWS!

  1. Amy Davies says:

    check dunwoody school daze archives. they sent it yesterday

  2. Thank you! We had looked at it, but did not expect it to be taken down so quickly. Very much like the missing minutes of board meetings and other missing documentation cited by KPMG.

  3. B Anderson says:

    I was composing a few thoughts when I lost the link but this was a bit of what concerned me–

    –The 1.6M to SchoolNet, Inc.seems worthy of further investigation.(Contract total 7.25M) The web-site products are teaching tools and seem not fall into capital improvements. And the system has yet to provide docs as to why it was assigned to SPLOST III. Are they SPLOST III expenses
    — ” Prior to Dec. 2011,salaries were not coded to SPLOST III.” pg20 – Can school system salaries be coded to SPLOST III?
    — I saw that Jamie WIlson is the Merchant Capital rep responding on page 29 to what seems to be an inappropriate buying of books. A private placement of credit was advantageous over a public offering … and no board approval can be found. UGH! That smells …
    as does so many other items flagged.

    There was so much in there that could give one pause — the inability to locate board meeting minutes backing up expenditures is a big one.

  4. Concernedmom30329 says:

    So they didn’t really take it down? Even though they were supposedly told to by the attorneys. The sheer incompetence is amazing. However, in this case I am grateful for this “mistake” because now many have printed it and it is now saved on this site.
    http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local/now-you-see-it-now-you-dont-dekalb-audit-back-unde/nS7Nf/

  5. Refer to the HR study released in January and found in the superintendent’s files here:
    http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/superintendent/evaluation-audits

    *Was any of this accomplished?

    …Due to extensive concerns related to compensation (addressed under compensation section) a
    separate office could report directly to the CHRO. The director (or administrator if the function
    comes under benefits and certification director) should be certified as a compensation
    specialist. Compensation functions shared by the Director of Staff Services and Technology
    Manager should also be administered by this office.

    Compensation: (no official office was noted for this function)
    Findings:

    1. The Assistant Principal schedule recognizes extra degrees while the Principal schedule does not.
    Principals are no longer paid for enrollment and nobody knows what happened with a 2005
    Ernst and Young study. The only perceived outcomes were job descriptions. A complicated
    salary schedule is not posted because it would be confusing. A loose description indicated that
    teacher years of experience are credited on the Assistant Principal schedule and half credit is
    granted for those years on the Principal schedule. There is a supplement to ensure the Principal
    is the highest paid at school, although it is no longer a SACS guideline, in DeKalb it is still a
    practice. If the higher paid subordinate is moved, the salary of the principal is frozen.
    2. There is no compensation department, but the function is covered by the Director of Staff
    Services and “day to day” administration is under the Technology Manager.
    3. Concern was expressed regarding salary competitiveness with the metro Atlanta area. While
    DeKalb used to be considered one of the higher‐paying districts, that no longer is the case.
    4. Concerns were expressed that some individuals are compensated differently due to
    inappropriate placement on the salary schedule. When individuals complain, they are adjusted
    to the higher level, but the entire class or group is not reviewed or adjusted.
    Recommendations
    1. Create a compensation office to report directly to the CHRO or under the Benefits Certification
    office if reorganized. The manager should be a certified compensation professional.
    2. Review past salary study to determine if deliverables were implemented or remain useful.
    3. Conduct an audit of current salary placements for classified, administrative and instructional
    staff.
    4. Strong consideration should be given to the recommendations of the salary study currently
    being conducted.

  6. In addition, there was another HR study done focusing on job reclassification. The study shows as being completed, but is not available to download. Guess we’ll have to ask for it via Open Records.

    Human Resources
    Karaton Services Inc
    Job Reclassification/Position Specifications Development & Implementation
    Completed

    $79,000.00

  7. Just another day in Paradise says:

    That last audit you refer to (Karaton Services, Inc.) was conducted by Dr. A’s right-hand, Dr. Dilligard. She’s been on the payroll at DCSD almost since the day Atkinson moved into her office. She sits in on most senior staff meetings, conducted the staffing interviews last spring, put her two cents into the curriculum rewrite during the summer, weighed in on the strategic plan (even though DCSD paid through the nose for another consulting firm to handle the strategic plan), hangs out in HR a few days a week but does nothing now, and her “contract” was renewed at the last minute by the board in September. She was one of the ones added at the last minute to the $100,000+ list, so now there’s no limit to what the district can pay her this year. Atkinson & her crew slid that one in there. At least last year Dilligard was limited to $99,999 (and believe me, she ran right up there to the limit). Atkinson doesn’t make a decision without it going through Dilligard. The senior staff has to float ideas past her first most times. DCSD is essentially paying for an extra senior administrator on staff in the Central Office. Just another one of Dr. A’s MANY consultants that we’ll be paying for for years to come.

    Maybe this will come out “officially” in the next audit…

  8. Oh my word. We have never heard of Dr. Dilligard before. How very enlightening – and concerning.

    It’s concerning to think that the board approved these studies, and our superintendent then rushed out and hired a couple of insiders to conduct those studies. Can you say ‘windfall’ for Dr. Dilligard ($79,000) and Dr. Ralph Taylor ($10,000)? (Taylor ‘conducted’ the safety in schools study, which is 15 pages published in a large font, with a narrow line width, and has no title, date or credit – his name or company is not on it anywhere.)

    Now begs the question: Who is Jim Huge and Associates ($45,000 for the HR Functions and Processes Audit), Pughsley & Associates ($45,000 for the Strategic Management/Aligned Management System Implementation Audit) and Education Planners LLC ($40,000 for the Curricula Programs & Professional Development Audit)?

  9. Updated Information:

    Atkinson worked for both Dilligard (Charleston County Schools, SC) and Pughsley (Charlotte-Mecklenberg Schools, NC). In fact, Pughsley promoted Atkinson. That should give you an idea of his competence. Pughsley also is associated with the Broad Superintendents Academy. Scary. Atkinson is a graduate of the Broad Superintendents Academy. Even scarier.

    Jim Huge & Associates is another Broad stalwart.

    Education Planners, LLC is a Marietta, GA-based group of educrats who make this claim, “Education Planners has solutions for the wide range of challenges that impact all school systems.” For a group with all the answers, its hard to believe that they are not sitting at the right hand of Arne Duncan. Education Planners was founded by James Wilson. If his name is familiar it is because Wilson was caught on tape bullying a state official over cheating charges: “You’ll pay dearly for it,” Wilson said to Kathleen Mathers, then the Director of the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement. “I’d love to help you, but if you really believe in an erasure analysis this strongly, that is the right way to do this…. I have a decision to make based on how we finish this conversation and where I go from here. And remember, I’m the old guy, I have nothing to lose…. I’m not going to give you any threats, but let me tell you, I can get there.”

    More names to watch for in Atkinson’s quest to choke teachers while spreading the wealth among friends and associates: Arlene Ackerman, Anthony Amato, Tom Payzant.

  10. Weary worker says:

    I don’t think Atkinson can stand the heat. I expect here to be out in three months. Just my opinion.

  11. dsw2contributor says:

    DCS administrators were just ordered to attend a *public* meeting on the evening of December 3. I can not find this upcoming *public* meeting listed on either DCS website yet (surprise!), so I took it upon myself to perform the *public service* of posting it here on DSW2 so that the *public* would actually have adequate notice.

    Perhaps the *public* will use this additional advance notice to coordinate a picket line or other legal protest?

  12. Thank you! Do you know the time and the place of the meeting?

  13. B Anderson says:

    Without even trying to judge Dr Atkinson, the idea that the board could be trolling for a new superintendent is chilling. A local, Dr, Lewis, was placed after our last failure from outside., Dr. Brown. To have the board place a local into the job could be worse than the present choice.

    For years I have felt as if the sky will fall in on the system any minute now. “It can’t get any worse!” .. but it does. On a scale of 1 to 10, the system has been in negative numbers for quite a while. Lots of people must like it the way it is.

  14. insider says:

    The Dr. Diligard information posted above is not an exaggeration. She and March run the district. Atkinson will drain us dry and move on to the next district that does not do its due diligence before hiring. Just like she did in Lorraine before landing a nice fat host for herself and her crew of parasites in Dekalb. BTW, Diligard didn’t just sit in on interviews. In many cases she and her employees were the only members of the panels appointing critical positions. Along with March, they cherry picked the new staff at the Palace.

  15. Thanks! Who works for Dilligard? Are they shown on the DCSS org chart in the DSW Archives? This is the one where DSW entered the names from a separate employee roster that was provided by Atkinson in response to an Open Records Request. Matching up the names and titles on the employee roster with the boxes on the org chart (also provided by Atkinson) shows that Atkinson and the rest of her high-priced crew are clueless about who works for DCSS and what they do, as well as what they are paid.

  16. John Dewey III says:

    Do the math. The 49 million dollars spent on main office staff in two years after the required cuts were NOT made adds up to over $7,000 per teacher if the money was allocated to classroom professionals….. $7,000 per teacher !

  17. psdad says:

    From the AJC article…When asked why, district spokesman Jeff Dickerson said, “KPMG lawyers demanded it.”

    As I posted the other day…The author of this report did not expect it to be reviewed by, or released to, the public. The document contains grammar errors, spelling errors, and a general lack of rigour that I would not expect from a product that had been vetted by a senior audit partner and gone through the typical internal review process.

    KPMG is running some damage control right now.

  18. KPMG should have checked the law in the Georgia Open Records Act which applies when they are doing work for a government agency. They could have simply called the Georgia First Amendment Foundation. Very careless of them.

  19. Tucker Mom says:

    The county has posted answers to the parent round table questions at http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/www/documents/parent-resource-centers/parent-questions.pdf.

  20. teacher/taxpayer says:

    John Dewey III: Thanks for doing that math. It would have been nice to have that $7K put into each teacher’s now defunct 403(b). By the way, any updates on the staus of that lawsuit?

  21. Dekalb Schools Board For Dummies says:

    I do not think that Johnny Brown was a failure. He may have made some decisions that many of us did not agree with. Please keep in mind that whether we liked the decisions he made, we would not be in this pickle had they not gotten rid of him. He ordered the audit, and once the results hit the newspaper, he was shown the door by the board. Please, someone, tell me where he was incompetent at, and please don’t mention Beasley, because we all know, the drunk, Hallford, had children in the system as well. Brown was going to bring all of the secrets of the BOE to the light, and that’s why he was shown the door….and then Clew came in and it was business as usually. In fact, DSW showed where Clew hired even more incompetent folks…and that’s one of the reasons why we are in this mess…..BAM….

  22. dekalbite2 says:

    Johnny Brown had the compensation audit done to find out if DeKalb was overcompensating personnel (per AJC article – the summary by Ernst and Young said -yes – by around $15,000,000 a year for around 2,500 non teaching employees – that’s $120,000,000 alone we could have saved over the last 8 years that could have helped students and taxpayers out of this hole). He wanted to reduce and consolidate the almost 100 separate salary schedules as he aligned functions employees performed with their titles and respective pay at marketplace compensation rates. He sent many of the Central Office staffers back to the schoolhouse in direct student contact roles. He asked the BOE for a buyout program to cut the top heavy and highly compensated redundant managers within DCSS. These were all fiscally prudent moves (much more effective than Hallford who began the administrative over staffing Brown was left to contend with). Brown reduced class sizes as he used the flexibility the state gave school systems to use any certified person in the schoolhouse to directly instruct students in the core content subjects. He kept teachers salaries intact and they even got a small increase in pay. He balanced the budget during the middle of a recession. Ask any teacher who was there when Brown was superintendent if things weren’t better for the members of the classroom – teachers and their students – than under Lewis, Tyson and now Atkinson.

    Brown was on the wrong side of the dress code (he wanted students to wear uniforms) and he did ask everyone to come to that “pep rally” on a plan day (something more appropriate for a smaller school system) and he did bring Mr. Beasley in as the highest paid principal in the county and he did implement the 3 year employment rule before your Board TSA contributions kicked in.

    But in balance, if Johnny Brown had been able to implement his plans, DeKalb would be a completely different system than we have today. His plans were fiscally prudent and classroom centered. We haven’t seen that in any of our management since Brown was let go, and that is what is hurting our student achievement.

  23. CM says:

    uniforms would have been a great idea for this system… bullies love to pick on kids who are different somehow. Uniforms would have helped the kids feel more like they were a team and not a member of a social class.

  24. dekalbite2 says:

    @CM
    I agree. I think uniforms are a good idea. But many parents thought differently. IMO – The uniform controversy was one more way to whip up opposition to Brown. The objective for many of the entrenched Central Office personnel was to get him out of the system.

    Ironically, the theme school students wear uniforms and it has not hurt their “creative spirits”.

  25. September says:

    A nice thing about uniforms is that it is cheaper. You can get by with three outfits. One to wear, one in the closet, and one in the wash. It does help children blend in and there is no guessing about whether the outfit complies with the dress code. IMHO uniforms do not abridge a student’s right to personal expression. Students can dress any way they like on their off time. We are teaching children the skills they will need to go to college or enter the workforce. Dressing for school should be like dressing for work.

    When you think about it, we all dress as required for work. Police officers, firemen, and members of the military all wear uniforms. Even some businesses require their employees to wear uniforms. If you don’t wear a uniform to work, you probably have a workplace dress code. Imagine how you would feel, if your surgeon showed up in the OR dressed for a party!

  26. Concernedmom30329 says:

    It wasn’t the Central Office folks who threw Brown under the bus about the uniforms, it was members of the Board of Ed. Many had encouraged him to institute a uniform policy but as soon as parents protested (and it was a small, yet vocal, group), these board members “forgot” they had said any such thing.
    This kind of behavior is a reminder that it doesn’t seem to matter that we change board members in DeKalb. Most can’t seem to do the job.

  27. dekalbite2 says:

    “It wasn’t the Central Office folks who threw Brown under the bus about the uniforms, it was members of the Board of Ed. ”

    Uniforms were just an excuse. The BOE and the Central Office personnel threw Brown under the bus for many reasons. Remember that many of the BOE members had friends and family (yes – it has gone on a very long time in DeKalb) in high paying non teaching positions. In the first place, the Central Office personnel were not happy that Brown was chosen as superintendent. There were a number of power centers existing under Hallford, and each leader of each power center was lobbying hard the BOE for the job. The BOE hired Brown, and that really upset the folks that thought they had a good shot at the superintendency. Brown was the first superintendent hired that was from outside the system. This took them by surprise. Then Brown sent a number of the Central Office personnel back to the schoolhouse. The uproar was huge in the Central Office. The Compensation audit was the last straw. That affected the Central Office and other high paying non teaching positions (2,500 in all) as well as many of the friends and family of the BOE. Teachers were not especially unhappy with Brown. He really didn’t affect them one way of the other except they did like the small class sizes. They got their pay and their COLAs and their TSA, they were not given scripted lessons, and they were not overburdened with paperwork.

    Deals were cut within the BOE to oust Brown and then reneged on with Lewis coming out as the winner. It was never about students or student achievement. It was about power and alliances and patronage.

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