We end the day where we began the day, if only because we've finally spoken with Dallas Independent School District spokesman Jon Dahlander concerning the critical internal audit of the Adult Basic Education Program, funded last year with $3.7 million in grant money. We were expecting to post the audit itself, which is 15 pages, but school district attorneys instead forced reporters to submit open records requests -- which means we may see the document sometime in the next, oh, two weeks. Maybe.
But Dahlander says some of the "serious violations" about which DISD trustee Carla Ranger wrote last night have been known at Ross Avenue HQ since March, when an earlier audit of ABE was conducted. "Since then," he says, "an interdepartmental task force was formed to come up with an action plan," which includes correcting the way employees are hired and paid.
"A budget specialist was also hired in May to help address other issues," Dahlander says. "Also, last year our annual external audit by Deloitte and Touche pointed out several issues with grant spending and the need to train employees. ... No money is missing - that's the key. And in some cases, funds were significantly underspent. It comes down to, there are training issues dealing with how to comply with grant spending." The adult education program is funded by the Texas Education Agency, which is reviewing the audit.
As mentioned this morning, Conchis Silva, the DISD's Adult Basic Education director singled out for his "management style of employee intimidation, harassment, and retaliation," has been placed on administrative leave, but Dahlander will say nothing else about the personnel matter. He will, however, say that the audit has several recommendations, and that "staff has been directed to implement them according to the time lines."
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