DISD: First They Hid the Audit. Now, They're Hiding The First Scapegoat.

I’m getting a big stall this morning from Dallas Independent School District HQ on a question I put to them regarding the Deloitte Touche external audit, which is months late and in no hurry to poke out a hole and see its shadow. That usually means DISD bigwigs are preparing a cover story to float in The Dallas Morning News. I’m not quite ready to name the person involved -- maybe later today, we'll see -- but I do want to get the basic story out there before the district has a chance to step on it with a party-line denial.

The story is that the district has placed on indefinite administrative leave a high-level person in its internal auditing function -- a person who happens to have special expertise in Oracle, the zillion-dollar financial management software that the district is trying to blame for its current auditing woes.

Readers may be aware that the district is now four months overdue in producing its financial audit. Officials have conceded that the audit, if and when district officials ever let loose of it, will reveal that the district has not been handling its money the right way. But in preparation for the release, top district officials in recent weeks have been scapegoating their own employees, blaming problems on “poor training.” Interesting excuse -- coming, as it does, from the trainers.

The profile of the person placed on leave is sufficiently high to make me think some kind of serious internal struggle is going on over all of this. Somebody is not going along with the party line. I expect the line is something like, “You can always push me out the window, but I am not going to jump.”

District spokespersons are strangely, suddenly uncharacteristically unavailable this morning. If I had time I’d drive over there and look under the stall doors, but I am ashamed to say I have never developed the nerve to do that in the lady’s room. And those guys know that, which limits my effectiveness. It’s a weakness I hate in myself.

More later maybe. --Jim Schutze

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky