Cobb School Board looking into costly outside audit for system
by Lindsay Field
February 15, 2013 12:00 AM | 3196 views | 8 8 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — The Cobb School Board has OK’d a board member’s request for the superintendent to look into the possibility of an outside agency performing an annual academic audit.

The board also saw what the 2014 budget planning calendar is going to look like, and each board member has also named their preferences to serve on the 2013 Facilities and Technology Committee, which is a 15-member group tasked with overseeing all SPLOST-related projects.

Board member David Morgan’s request for the academic audit would be similar to a financial audit conducted annually by a third party.

“We say we’re in the business of educating children and getting results, preparing them for a global marketplace, and I think it would behoove the board to actually put some type of policy in place as it relates to an annual academic audit,” he said.

A financial audit is mandated by the state and typically costs Cobb about $50,000 annually to conduct.

Morgan said he would like for a third party organization to review the district’s academic data and practices, comparing it to comparable districts nationally or internationally if need be, growth and culture in schools, leadership and possibly giving surveys for stakeholder feedback.

“This won’t mitigate compromise or stop anything we already have in place,” he said, in reference to checks and balances already being done by the district to help hold it accountable academically.

“I want to bring about transparency, accountability and public trust.”

Board members Kathleen Angelucci and Tim Stultz thanked Morgan for bringing up the idea, but Stultz said he thought it may be conducting something already done by the district. Angelucci said she thought the timing was bad when the district is about to deal with a nearly $80 million deficit in the 2014 fiscal year.

“Every month, Mr. Morgan tries really hard to keep us as a school board on that path of talking about academics, where our students are and keeping us focused on that aspect of it,” Angelucci said. “On the other hand … I’m not certain that we could entertain this time around, but I think that we need to consider it.”

Cobb Superintendent Michael Hinojosa plans on presenting some cost figures and potential outside agencies to conduct the audit in April or May.

The district’s Chief Financial Officer Brad Johnson also went over the budget calendar for 2014 so that board members will know what their responsibilities are over the next four months in preparation for approving next year’s budget no later than June 30.

Johnson said he plans to bring alternative funding methods to deal with the potential $80 million deficit around the end of March and shooting for the Cobb board to approve its budget by May 16.

Other dates for meetings will be:

• March 13: board budget work session

• March 21: budget presentation from Johnson’s staff

• April 17: board reviews 2014 tentative budget

• April 25: board adopts tentative budget

• May 13: 2014 budget and salary hearings

• May 16: tentative budget salary hearing and legal adoption of 2014 budget

In other business, 13 of the district’s 15-member F&T Committee members have been named, and three new faces are in the group: Charlie Dye, Larry Darnell and Mitch Gibson.

Hinojosa re-appointed long-time committee member Wallace Coopwood; Board Chair Randy Scamihorn, Gibson; Vice Chair Brad Wheeler, Dye and Darnell; Kathleen Angelucci, Thea Powell and Wayne Brown; David Banks, Dr. John Crooks and Angie Delvin-Brown; David Morgan, Patrick Stafford and Kimberley Euston; Tim Stultz, Todd Herrington and Curt Johnston; and Scott Sweeney, Roger Phelps.

The openings for Scamihorn and Sweeney will be filled at a later date.

“I look forward to representing the citizens of Cobb County again on this committee and ensuring that the Cobb County School District is managing the SPLOST funds in a fiscally responsible manner as outlined in the Georgia Constitution,” said Kimberley Euston.

She served as last year’s F&T chair and has served on the committee since 2008.

“This committee will continue to recommend to the board projects for approval that are in line with the SPLOST III notebook,” she said. “I expect this committee to continue to raise concerns around projects that are over budget/under budget and ask the tough questions as to why the projects deviate dramatically from initial estimates.”

The group meets at least once a month and will meet for the first time this year Feb. 19 at the Cobb County School Board Office, 514 Glover St. in Marietta, at 6 p.m.

The school board’s next meeting will be at 7 p.m. Feb. 28.
Comments
(8)
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anonymous
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February 18, 2013
So they do not have enough talent to come up with a plan themselves? That tells you a lot about the main office. And that someone has some friends that need a paycheck. I bet James Wilson's group can help, right?
I75
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February 17, 2013
Walrus makes to much money!!! School staffs are the ones hurting and the students with class sizes to big!! To many people on glover street making big money and no one really knows what they do! Too many area superintendents. You could cut that back to about three of them and that would be good!! They need to look into to many big chiefs and not enough warriors!!!!
Be Careful
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February 15, 2013
Holy crap on a cracker!

Has the school board STILL not learned to rein in their out of control spending???

With all the high paid staff at HQ, you'd think SOMEBODY in the sustem could do an academic audit without paying untold money to an outside company.

This is just as stupid as wanting to spend $700,000 to renovate the restrooms/snackbar at Allatoona High stadium...which is only a few years old, and those facilities are in perfect shape (I've been there).

Will the insanity never end?

I'm not voting for any SPLOST until they show they can get their budget under control.

SPLOST money is supposed to be "special". It's not supposed to be part of the general fund budget year after year.
anonymous
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February 19, 2013
You need to watch the meeting...

Morgan brought the idea up. The board and superintendent were skeptical yet wanted to hear what the cost might be. No dollars have been allocated.

Watching the meeting, you'd be hard pressed to believe there is support for this given current economic conditions.
Mike T. Baker
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February 15, 2013
As a Democrat in South Cobb County, I am upset by David Morgan's appointment to the F&T committee. Surely, there is at least one resident in our post who could serve with a certain degree of confidence on the F&T committee.

Ms. Euston is not only from east cobb, I bet you she is a member of the republican party. Ms Euston's obnoxious voice won't do us any good - we need the resources that the splost will provide to come to south Cobb not East cobb.

Mr. Morgan you can do better.
anonymous
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February 15, 2013
Agreed... Ms. Euston lost what little credibility remained when it was revealed she advocated for people to cheat on the school calendar survey on her facebook page.

She told people how to clear their browsers so they could vote multiple time and also encouraged people outside of the community to vote.
Trivial Pursuit
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February 19, 2013
Anonymous, it might interest you to know that CCSD put the raw survey data in downloadable format on it's website for about an hour before they removed it. Lucky me, I just happened to be checking, and snagged it before they took it down. Here's a little factoid for you, there were over 13,000 votes that came from IP addresses assigned to CCSD's data center up on Hwy 41, and over 8,000 votes that came from IP addresses assigned to the Georgia Department of Education. Let's talk about cheating in the educators' backyards, shall we? This had to have been done by simple little bots written by programmers paid with tax dollars. That's what ought to have you riled up, not the 6 or 7 votes Euston might have gotten. Who cares?
Save the students
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February 15, 2013
I hope the board does NOT make more cuts to teachers salaries or raise class sizes. We have many teachers leaving the profession. The board has not taken any suggestions from staff or the public. They only continue to make the students and teachers suffer.
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