Burden now falls to board, Cook

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 17, 2008

The resignation by South Point Treasurer Daniel McDavid is a positive step for the school district.

As a longtime educator and coach, McDavid’s other contributions to education should neither be forgotten nor undervalued, but considering the scathing report issued by State Auditor Mary Taylor last month, there simply had to be some accountability.

The district received 24 citations for transgressions that included noncompliance, material weakness and questioned costs. The state again found the district to be “unauditable,” because records were missing, incomplete or inaccurate.

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“Serious concerns regarding the district’s management of federal grant funds is a recurring issue and should be addressed and corrected,” Taylor said.

And the last part is particularly important. It must be corrected.

Steve Faulkner, a spokesman for the auditor’s office, brought the seriousness of the issue into focus when he said, “Based on our review, it appears it did not spend the $487,516 (grant dollars). … If they are not spending what they have been allotted for special education programs, they could lose that money for the future. They jeopardize losing that.”

In other words, the state kind of likes to know how taxpayer dollars are being spent. And it demands that school districts keep sufficient records to show the money is being used as it was intended.

The South Point school district has failed miserably in this regard. But the district now has an opportunity.

With McDavid’s resignation, the burden now falls to the school board and Superintendent Ken Cook. Not only does it need to be resolved, but it should be done in a transparent fashion so the district’s taxpayers can be confident that future grants are not going to be jeopardized and that the finances are in order.

With a new board taking over, this is the perfect time for it and Cook to turn a negative into a positive and show the community the district is taking the issue seriously.