On November 20, 2008, only weeks after it came to light the Dallas Independent School District had come up with a sudden shortfall of $64 million, the district hired Austin ISD's chief financial officer, Larry Throm, as its new moneyman in charge. Said DISD superintendent Michael Hinojosa in a press release sent out that day: "He will be a 'game-changer' for Dallas ISD." And, based purely on results, at least, he was: Six weeks ago Throm announced that the district posted a $54-million budget surplus for last school year, increasing the district's fund balance to $91 million. Said the super, "Chief Financial Officer Larry Throm and his staff put in place strict spending controls and our principals and department managers have responded. "
But Throm is CFO no more: The DISD just sent out a release announcing his departure from the district. Says the DISD, he's returning home to Austin -- well, Georgetown, specifically, where the wife's been living since Throm got the gig here -- in December, having stayed well past his June 2010 contract deadline. The super's comments follow, but says Throm, "Dallas ISD is in much better shape financially, and I thank Dr. Hinojosa and the board of trustees for both the opportunity to serve and the autonomy with which to complete the work. It has truly been a highlight of my career." The district will start looking for his replacement shortly.
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CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER ANNOUNCES DEPARTURE
Larry Throm Returning Home to Austin After Turning Around Dallas ISD Finances
DALLAS-Larry Throm, the chief financial officer who led the effort during the past two years to turn around the Dallas Independent School District's financial operations, announced today that he will be leaving the district to return to the Austin area December 17th.
Throm, who initially signed only an 18-month contract, leaves the district with a much brighter financial outlook than when he arrived in January 2009. Since then, the district posted a record budget surplus of at least $54 million and has made significant progress in reducing the number of material weaknesses and deficiencies noted in external audits.
"We needed a premier expert on Texas school finance to help us and we more than got it in the form of Larry Throm. His knowledge and leadership came to us at a critical time," said Superintendent of Schools Michael Hinojosa. "One year ago, the board of trustees directed the administration to end the 2009-10 school year with a fund balance of at least $50 million. For it to be $91 million and possibly even higher is a major step forward. Better than that has been the effort to shore up our financial systems so that all of the district's accounts can be better managed."
Throm has been living in Dallas during the week while serving as CFO. On the weekends, he would return to his wife and home in Georgetown.
"I am very proud of what the staff has accomplished here in Dallas ISD in just two short years," said Throm, who previously served as CFO for the Austin and Lubbock school districts. "Dallas ISD is in much better shape financially and I thank Dr. Hinojosa and the board of trustees for both the opportunity to serve and the autonomy with which to complete the work. It has truly been a highlight of my career."
The district's audit committee will receive a preliminary report on the 2009-10 school year from independent auditor Deloitte and Touche on November 15. For the second year in a row, the audit will be sent to the Texas Education Agency on time and is expected to show a decrease in the number of material weaknesses and significant deficiencies.
A replacement for Throm has not been announced. His position will be posted in the next few weeks.