Gene Walker is Wrong!

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.

Go to DCSS Files and look at Budgets & Audits.

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?

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12 Responses to Gene Walker is Wrong!

  1. howdy1942 says:

    I can understand that there can be personnel issues and perhaps competitive bids wherein a decision has not been made. However, it is very disconcerting that the Administration and Board are deliberately withholding information or, at a minimum, deliberately delaying information that, according to law, is subject to full disclosure. I am appalled that, even in the face of a budget crisis, this School Board would approve yet additional funds for legal defense for the Superintendent to defend herself against allegations that she is withholding such information. This matter should be resolved short of legal action. She can read the law and, if she can’t, she doesn’t need to be where she is.

    My reading of the audit did show some significant areas of concern. Administration expenses rose over 14%, by far the highest of the very few that increased. Legal expenses are out of control.

    I conclude by saying that we ought to be hearing from SACS any day now. This School Board and Administration are in denial and have lost the confidence of the people.

  2. DeKalb BOE for dummies says:

    I do not like Eugene’s attitude. He needs to be reminded that he works for all of DeKalb’s citizens. There many professionals There who live in South DeKalb. Is there anyone else competent enough to run against these people? Eugene was on the board once before. Wonder why he left? Can someone investigate to see if he lost or just stepped down? On another note, I think the board is waiting on the SACS report before they move forward with more lying, cheating, stealing, and corruption.

  3. I don’t think Gene was on the board before. That was Paul Womack – he was on the board for 12 years in the 80s.

  4. Tim McGaughey says:

    Mr. Walker is wrong. KPMG’s draft audit found that personnel cuts ordered by the Board were not made. The staff evaded Board policy.

    Tim McGaughey

  5. Insider says:

    DSW is correct – Paul Womack served previously. Gene was a high-level administrator that retired (I believe) in the early-to-mid 90s before going on to a job at DJJ and other jobs.

  6. John Dewey III says:

    I noticed that immediately after the fall board meeting where the chairman talked about the inexpensive and low cost nature of school bond levies, the system’s bond rating was downgraded by the bond rating agency….. Can we agree they are borrowing and spending money they don’t have for things they don’t need, while crucial issues of classroom size and step raises are forgotten?

  7. Yes, we definitely agree. Further, the Gene Walker’s son is in the business of selling bonds. This could be the reason Walker is so “up” on the idea of bonds.

    We want to add two links that everyone should read and remember when considering Gene Walker:
    http://www.atlantaunfiltered.com/2009/12/08/dekalb-school-board-tables-discission-of-ethics-code/
    http://www.accessnorthga.com/detail.php?n=165732

    Gene Walker sometimes may look and sound like a distinguished, slightly grumpy, big ol’ teddy bear, but the man truly is a cretin in every sense of the word. (Look it up. Merriam-Webster defines “cretin” as: “1. often offensive; 2. a vulgar, or insensitive person.” Then see the second reference above.)

    We are offended and disturbed when Walker makes references to intimidating woman by his physical size. Walker made such a reference just recently with regard to Superintendent Atkinson not being intimidated by his (Walker’s) physical size. No one should ever have to fear another person because of their physical size and for a man as massive as Gene Walker to even suggest that could ever be a possibility is just plain offensive, i.e., cretinous. How embarrassing that such a person (see references above) was even elected to the school board, much less elected to be chair!

  8. howdy1942 says:

    I begin this comment by saying that I don’t live in Brookhaven or Dunwoody. However, now that they have become incorporated cities, I believe that their next step is to convince the legislature to pass an amendment that would be the first step into breaking the Dekalb County School System into parts one of which would be a North Dekalb District. The people of Brookhaven and Dunwoody are smart enough and wealthy enough to be successful. Since 70% of our tax bills are earmarked for schools, can you just image the impact of losing these areas would have on the financial situation in the Dekalb County School System?

    Eugene Walker is following the same path that Vernon Jones followed – he is royally provoking these communities, as well as many others. He will not fend off this risk by thinking he can fight a Republican legislature with a super-majority and a Republican Governor. Nor can he expect relief in the courts. In short, he needs to wake up and smell the coffee. This is not a racial issue. On the contrary, it is one that is grounded in the firm belief by many that their tax dollars have been wasted in legal expenses associated with the Board and Administration making many poor decisions; by excessive expenses in building and maintaining a bloated and inefficient administration; by excessive expenses associated with the Administration’s inability to carry out basic dictates of the Board such as reducing headcount; by the Board not following up to insure that its instructions had been followed. The Dekalb County School System spends more in legal expenses than all our neighboring counties combined. DCSS has the highest number of administrators per student than any of our neighboring counties.

    In short, this Board and this Administration have wasted and continue to waste taxpayer dollars. Again, I cannot believe that this Board just approved funds for the Superintendent to defend herself against allegations that she has not released information in accordance with law. That is just so wasteful. The sad part of this whole situation is that the very communities that Walker represents stands to be the biggest losers of his actions.

  9. Weary worker says:

    Fulton County Schools just gave their teachers and staff a 3% bonus. That would have been $1800 for me. In DeKalb today my take home pay was further decreased by an increase in benefit cost charged to employees. Scrooge lives. Why would anyone want to work for this system? I’m wearing black today.

  10. Anne Shirley says:

    DeKalb chooses not to recognize the employees. Years of compounded furlough days, higher benefits, they could have at least given everyone $100 as a show of goodwill. As long as Atkinson is happy that’s all anyone cares about…..nothing good is going to come of this low morale of employees.

  11. no name says:

    Check out this story about Sharon Contreras, the Superintendent of the Syracuse, NY school district…. the school board awarded her a $10,000 Performance Bonus; she immediately donated that money to the Syracuse City School District Educational Foundation, where it will be used to support city teachers. She said “I see our teachers struggling every day with the implementation of the common core and have spoken with them about the amount of money they are personally spending on instructional materials to see that our students are successful. Teachers have a long history of spending their own money for classroom supplies but this year they are taking on an even greater burden.”

    The article:
    http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2012/12/syracuse_superintendent_gets_t.html

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