Why can't the school system get a handle on its finances?

October 17, 2012

I was literally sick to my stomach when I read the article about financial mismanagement in the Baltimore City schools ("Schools audit draws concern," Oct. 9). When are we going to stop being concerned about audits like this and do something to fix it?

I liken the schools' lapses to me loosing a dollar and searching high and low for it while my wife is says "it's only a dollar." Maybe to some people millions and millions of unaccounted for school funds are the same as my lost dollar, but they are not. Those dollars came directly from my pocket and the pockets of other Maryland taxpayers year after year.

There was $2.8 million in overtime that might not have been worked and without documentation and supervisor approval. Who is watching the store here? Don't we have electronic time sheets in 2012 that people are required to file and that supervisors must approve?

Next, $3.9 million in debt that was supposed to be repaid. Again, come on! If I received money to which I was not entitled I would be fired, taken to court for repayment or have my wages garnisheed. How hard can it be to collect funds that should never have been paid out in the first place?

Similarly there was the $100,000 in salary that was not supposed to have been paid to an employee who had been demoted. What is the school system using for a payroll system and time sheets, invisible ink?

All this is happening in a school system that needs $2.5 billion to renovate dilapidated buildings. A lot of people should be ashamed of themselves for not doing their jobs correctly.

Kenneth E. Fahnestock

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