School Choice & Charters

Audit Faults Louisiana’s Recovery School District’s Tracking of Property

By Denisa R. Superville — December 24, 2015 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Louisiana’s Recovery School District has failed to properly track thousands of dollars worth of property purchased with public money, according to a state legislative audit.

The audit, released on Wednesday, said that the Recovery School District, the state-created school system that took over most of the schools in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, regularly did not follow state timelines in reporting the acquisition of moveable property.

The audit found that for the ninth straight year, the RSD did not follow state regulations in maintaining an accurate record of equipment that it owns. Louisiana law requires that all movable property that cost at least $1,000 be tagged with an identification code and that a record be sent to the state within 60 calendar days of purchase.

Between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015, for example, the RSD reported $709,295 worth of purchases that had been made with state and federal money three to 85 days after the required 60-day reporting deadline. And when those assets were recorded, the notation was done incorrectly, the audit said.

The RSD’s annual certification of inventory report was not approved this year because of an “unacceptable” amount of current-year discrepancies. Among the discrepancies: $808,379 in missing property for the current year and $6.1 million from the previous three years, the audit said.

The audit also noted problems with the RSD’s payroll record-keeping. In the 2015 fiscal year, the RSD did not enter the separation dates for 96 employees in a timely manner, possibly leading to overpayment to 16 employees to the tune of $5,338, according to the report. From December 2013 to June 2015 it’s possible that the RSD overpaid 49 employees about $32,214, the report said.

In two November responses to the audit, Patrick Dobard, the Recovery School District superintendent, concurred with the bulk of the findings.

Dobard said that the school system had made “tremendous progress” in addressing the concerns about property tracking. However, one of the two members of the property management staff left in June, leaving the department short-staffed. The reporting problem, he said, was due not to a “lack of internal processes or control” but staffing.

He also concurred with the findings on the reporting discrepancies that led the state to disapprove this year’s report. But Dobard also noted that that report also included about $2.1 million worth of previously unreported items. Many of the items in question past were their useful life and had essentially no monetary value, he said.

As for the payroll issue, he said that payroll was now handled by the state and that processes and controls were in place to ensure that employee separations are accurately recorded.

Laura Hawkins, an RSD spokeswoman, told the New Orleans Times-Picayune that the reporting gaps had to do with staff “turnover and a complicated disposal process” at the charter schools—not theft—and that most of the equipment was outdated computers. The RSD was working with the charter schools’ staffs to include missing items in their annual reviews, she told the paper.

You can read the full report, which includes Dobard’s responses to the findings, here.

A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.

Commenting has been disabled on effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
Attendance Awareness Month: The Research Behind Effective Interventions
More than a year has passed since American schools were abruptly closed to halt the spread of COVID-19. Many children have been out of regular school for most, or even all, of that time. Some
Content provided by AllHere
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School Choice & Charters Virtual Charters in Hot Water Again. Accusations of Fraud Prompt $150M Lawsuit
Indiana officials seek to recoup more than $150 million they say was either wrongly obtained or misspent by a consortium of virtual schools.
Arika Herron, The Indianapolis Star
2 min read
Indiana's attorney general Todd Rokita speaks at a news conference on Sept. 16, 2020, in Indianapolis. Rokita filed a lawsuit against a group of online charter schools accused of defrauding the state out of millions of dollars Thursday, July 8, 2021.
Indiana's attorney general Todd Rokita speaks at a news conference on Sept. 16, 2020, in Indianapolis.
Darron Cummings/AP
School Choice & Charters How the Pandemic Helped Fuel the Private School Choice Movement
State lawmakers got a new talking point as they pushed to create and expand programs to send students to private schools.
8 min read
Collage showing two boys in classroom during pandemic wearing masks with cropped photo of feet and arrows going in different directions.
Collage by Gina Tomko/EducationWeek (Images: Getty)
School Choice & Charters Opinion Taking Stock After 30 Years of Charter Schools
Rick Hess speaks with Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, on charter schools turning 30.
8 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
School Choice & Charters In Fight Over Millions of Dollars for Charter Schools, a Marijuana Tax May Bring Peace
The Oklahoma State Board of Education voted unanimously to rescind a polarizing lawsuit settlement, pending certain stipulations.
Nuria Martinez-Keel, The Oklahoman
3 min read
Money bills cash funds close up Getty