Wednesday, March 21, 2012

See, We told you so! - Lee Co. Audit!

Fisher Ames
(Author of the First Amendment)
"Should not the Bible regain the place it once held as a schoolbook? Its morals are pure, its examples are captivating and noble....In no Book is there so good English, so pure and so elegant, and by teaching all the same they will speak alike, and the Bible will justly remain the standard of language as well as of faith."

To all those naysayers, who repeatedly claimed we were playing "political football", messing with the sacred cow "education", starving our children..."SEE WE TOLD YOU SO"!  It is with great pleasure that I read the Herald's headline this morning:

Audit shows $14.5 million in savings

SANFORD — Recommendations from a final performance audit report for Lee County government and local schools would yield roughly $14.5 million in savings over five years if implemented, audit chief Linda Recio told Lee commissioners Monday.

Recio, president of Florida-based consulting firm Evergreen Solutions, presented her report for both the county government and the school system, which has been under fire from conservatives questioning school spending priorities for some months.

The audits detailed some $8.7 million in possible savings for the county government and another $5.8 million for Lee County Schools, although it will ultimately be up to commissioners and school board members whether to adopt Evergreen’s recommendations.

Commissioner Jim Womack, who was among the board Republicans demanding performance audits last year, called Evergreen’s performance “magnificent” Monday, arguing it was worth the $140,000 tab to assess county and school ledgers.

Both reports contained dozens of commendations and recommendations for the county and schools, with the caveat from Recio that Evergreen staff was not allowed access to school-level principals and teachers, only system administrators.

For the school system, Recio said Evergreen lauded the system’s annual financial reports, safety training, strategic plan with measurable annual benchmarks, outreach to the community, “pragmatic” use of taxpayer dollars for maintenance costs and the system’s use of the Rosetta Stone language program and the 1:1 laptop program, which included spending millions with the goal of providing laptop computers as learning tools for area students.

The laptop initiative has been a popular target of school critics, and Evergreen’s recommendations included the establishment of evaluation techniques for the laptop program and Rosetta Stone.

“They may very well be doing what they need to be doing for students in the school system, but they need to be evaluated when you’re spending those kinds of dollars,” Recio said

Read more: Sanford Herald - Audit shows 14 5 million in savings (registration required)

I would think if you have nothing to hide you would welcome an audit to prove your critics wrong.  Not the bunch of liberals we have on the BOC and Board of Education here in Lee County.  We were called names, constantly berated, etc.  What they seem to have missed (oh they probably heard me shouting) is that we needed benchmarks.  Benchmarks to prove our government entities were spending taxpayer dollars wisely.  And when our school system wants $7.9 million more in spending on top of $83 million, we won't blink an eye if we feel and have proof all is well.

Now about that $7.9 million?  To this day, Superintendent Moss and the other BOE members won't tell us why they wanted that much more and settled for $500,000.  Makes you wonder what they are hiding doesn't it?  Because something is amiss if you can just shrug your shoulders at that amount of money.  I love the recommendation that Central Office is too heavy.  It's about time somebody noticed.

I wonder will Bill Tatum throw temper tantrums at the budget negotiations this year?  Wait, he's running for Mike Stone's seat! Of course not.  He will be tame.  And use others to do the dirty work. No names mentioned. Most of us know who they are.

So how bad will the budget negotiations get?  Will we lose middle school sports, TAs (which are the ones who suffered last year), have no gas for buses, etc?  Will we be able to pay for those Principle salaries? 

And ummm what about the Central Office?  Dang I'm sitting here looking at the salaries.  Wow.  Now that's the place to work in Lee County!  Trust me when I say some in HR make a killing! My goodness.  No wonder our teachers are so poorly paid.  Did you know the actual monthly payout for salaries at CO is $232,255?  That's MONTHLY payout! 

But this past year our Super got rid of Teacher Assistants.  Yes he eliminated those who touch our precious jewels - our kids.  Not a soul from CO, if memory serves me correctly.  The last figure I heard was that TAs made about $13-15,000 a year.  A couple of people from CO make $10-16,000 a month!  Holy cow!
The audit was never about getting someone.  It was about accountability.  I don't care what you think - $14.5 million in savings is not chump change.  That's a lot of tax dollars. That's alot of meals, tanks of gas, grocery bags, doctor visits, etc. paid if the money stayed with us taxpayers.  That's alot of jobs that could be saved with real incentives when money is in your pocket and you spend it. 

Isn't it about time to demand our government to be leaner, meaner, and more efficient?  Yes.  And it starts locally.  More to come on the audit!


1 comment:

Randall Lee Yow said...

The Broadwegians will not stand for this!

-Randall Lee Yow

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