By Peggy Venable
Americans For Prosperity
(Peggy Venable was the first White House Liaison for the U.S. Department of Education under President Reagan.)
Today I learned of an audit report done on Brownsville ISD which alleges “systemic corruption at practically every level.”
It appears not only were taxpayers abused, but kids in that district were cheated. The District is rated “Recognized”…but if auditors found corruption, can we trust that the rating was earned legitimately?
It seems the forensic audit firm shared the report with the District Attorney and others, so I anticipate this won’t be the last we hear of it.
Brownsville ISD has around 49,000 students and expenditures of around $593 million. Their ISD debt is $326 million.
The audit covered three school years.
It blew me away.
And that is saying a lot. For the past three years, AFP-Texas has had The Red Apple Project (http://www.redappleproject.com/) and have worked to educate the public on how our education dollars are spent, or misspent as the case may be. Our goal was to encourage efficiency in education spending.
After all, our state constitution calls for an efficient system of free public schools. We know they aren’t free, so the taxpayers deserve for those dollars to be spent efficiently.
We have held the Rotten Apple Award and highlighted the most egregious education spending. Our intent has been to ultimately encourage more of our education dollars to be spent in the classroom and on good teachers.
Currently only half the education dollars are spent on instruction, and ISD’s across the state average one non-teacher for every teacher.
It is clear that education dollars are not spent efficiently, but to learn of an audit report which alleges widespread corruption in a public school system is shocking.
I was on a McAllen radio station this evening discussing the matter.
One of the school board members had been on the show before me and I heard him say the former superintendent Brett Springston (was) fully responsible. (The superintendent who served during the audit period is no longer there, having left recently to go to tiny Bartlett ISD, moving from an ISD with almost 50,000 students, 54 campuses and expenditures of over a half billion dollars to one with under 400 students, two schools, and spending just under $4 million.)
Education is big business in Texas.
We have just under 5 million students in public schools and ISDs spend $54 billion. Are those dollars being spent efficiently and are kids getting our billions worth?
It appears that for the years in question that has not been the case in Brownsville ISD.
We will follow what happens and post what we learn.
Read more: http://www.americansforprosperity.org/022412-brownsville-isd-earns-rotten-apple-award-february#ixzz1nhuEoUIx