At the December 10, 2012 board meeting, Gene Walker deliberately stepped outside of the board’s self-imposed boundaries to respond to what many parents were saying or alluding to during community comments: DeKalb County Schools is an organization rife with corruption, fraud, theft and mismanagement.
Walker said that the recent audit of DeKalb County Schools by KPMG found nothing amiss and no money missing. Further, he said the KPMG audit had been a forensic audit which just further proved his point.
Gene Walker is completely wrong and he continues to mislead DeKalb County parents and taxpayers.
Consider the following definitions:
An AUDIT is the examination of the records and reports of an enterprise by accounting specialists other than those responsible for their preparation. Public auditing by independent accountants is common in large firms. The auditor performs tests to determine (1) whether the firm’s statements were prepared in accordance with acceptable accounting principles and that they (2) fairly present its financial position and operating results.
A FORENSIC AUDIT is the use of professional accounting skills in matters involving potential or actual civil or criminal litigation, including, but not limited to, generally accepted accounting and audit principles; the determination of lost profits, income, assets, or damages; evaluation of internal controls; fraud; and any other matter involving accounting expertise in the legal system.
An audit does NOT show anything more than whether or not the financial statements were prepared in accordance with accepted accounting principles. A forensic audit goes deeper. But only if the accountants are given free rein. In the case of DeKalb County Schools, the cover letter on KPMG’s so-called forensic audit makes it abundantly clear that it wasn’t really. Forensic, that is. The accountants were directed to areas that would not raise questions – and even then the accountants pointed out critical missing information.
DeKalb School Watch has filed 24 Open Records Requests and we are getting ready to file a few more. You won’t be surprised to find that our questions have to do with money and what DeKalb County Schools has done with it. To-date we have received only 10 usable answers. We have also been asked to pony up a total of $10,888 to get five of the remaining 14 answers. Our question is what are they hiding?
One of our requests was for the original Excel spreadsheets for the 2011 and 2012 budgets. We received the Excel spreadsheets for 2011. But, they are resisting sending us the 2012 spreadsheets. What are they hiding?
In fact, we have repeatedly asked, through our board member, to have the monthly financial report presented on an Excel spreadsheet, instead of a PDF. They continue to go with the PDF. What are they hiding?
Closely related to their refusal to provide the financial report on the original Excel spreadsheets is their refusal to provide data on an Excel spreadsheet comparing current hiring with previous years’ hiring. This is information that was previously provided although, frustratingly, not on a spreadsheet. What are they hiding?
We have requested the 1099 information concerning consultants that Atkinson has already provided on request to Walker. You may recall that Atkinson, even in the face of severe financial problems, sought and was granted permission to pay consultants up to $100,000 without board approval. We are still waiting for that information. What are they hiding?