Why Prince George’s County Board of Education Needs to Be Audited
Submitted by TWingfield
There is no doubt that the Prince George’s County School System (PGCPS) has had its problems for some time, but since restoring the elected school board things have gone from bad to worst, which I believe justifies the need for an independent audit and possibly an investigation to stop what appears to be gross mismanagement that is destroying our schools.
On July 1, the Board of Education (BOE) will implement a budget that violates the civil rights of children across the county by laying off school personnel and cutting school services that directly serve children in the classroom, to avoid making deep administrative cuts. While they spout the foolish rhetoric we hear from Congress – “it’s the economy – dummy” to justify these cuts, they have failed to provide documented proof to the public that deep administrative cuts were first made to balance the budget.
Moreover, the school board failed to perform their fiduciary duty by voting on a budget document still in evolution. The board was elected to responsibly handle the business of the citizens, not call a vote to meet deadlines. While I believe members are sincere in their efforts, their actions show a lack of knowledge and understanding in governing an education system.
An audit and investigation would finally provide answers to the following questions that the BOE refuse to provide to the public:
- Dollar for dollar – how are the additional funds restored by the County Executive and state legislators being used?
- What was the exact cost of the Washington Plaza debacle and its impact on future operating budgets?
- How can the BOE receive Title 1 funds from the federal government to educate children living in poverty at a lower threshold than they require of schools serving these same children that are entitled to Title 1 funds?
- Why does the BOE have so many unrestricted budget categories for clearly defined services?
- What are the BOE’s actual administrative and school-based expenditures for the past five years by category and description?
- Is the BOE violating the Open Meetings Act by holding public board meetings during the hours most citizens work?
- Is there a conflict for board members working for the local government to schedule board meetings during normal work hours?
- How has increased administrative costs impacted the BOE ability to retain qualified school-based personnel and quality services?
- How is the quality of our schools being impacted by the environment the BOE appears to foster that awards unqualified individuals in executive and mid-level positions with six-figure paid on-the-job training while qualified, seasoned school-based educators are forced to retire, resign or be laid off?
In the words of one citizen at the May budget hearings, the citizens have had enough of BOE’s disregard for children.