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Trustee Points to "Serious Violations" Found in Audit of DISD's Adult Basic Education Program

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The Dallas Independent School District's Adult Basic Education Program is available to all "adult learners and educationally disadvantaged adults in Dallas and Rockwall counties" who want to learn about, well, you name it -- everything from English to math, computer skills to parenting skills. So says this 2007-2008 at-a-glance, in which it's also explained that the money for this program comes from the feds and the state.

Carla Ranger was even more specific in a blog item posted late last night: The DISD school board trustee writes that for the 2008-'09 school year, the district received $3,672,329 from the Texas Education Agency to fund the Adult Basic Education Program. Only, an internal audit of the program dated Friday reveals that no one's quite sure how the money was handled or whether it was properly accounted for -- which seems to be the least of the department's problems. Ranger offers these highlights from the audit:

  • During the audit, it was brought to our attention by various ABE employees that the ABE Manager was in violation of the district payroll policy, grant fund accounting and federal regulatory requirements.
  • The ABE Department does not have sound management practices and adequate procedures for administering federal funds in a manner consistent with rules and regulations within the grant application.
  • There is a lack of proper budget management procedures and monitoring of employee hiring practice.
  • The ABE Department does not have adequate internal controls established to reduce the risk of funds mismanagement or to prevent fraud.
  • The management style of employee intimidation, harassment, and retaliation practiced by the current ABE Manager has negatively affected the control environment and control activities set forth by the policy guidelines of OMB Circular 87-A.
  • The auditor was obstructed from communicating with employees about various ABE operational procedures.

On The News's DISD blog last month, someone posted that Conchis Silva, the DISD's Adult Basic Education director, had been placed on administrative leave; this morning, Unfair Park confirmed that with a district employee. An e-mail has been sent to DISD spokesman Jon Dahlander for further explanation and a complete copy of the audit.

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