A forensic audit at Eldred

Why do we need a forensic audit at Eldred Central School District (ECS)? The answer is simple: so the school district can move forward. Dr. Morgano and the board have proposed an all-inclusive committee to examine the mistakes of the past and prepare a plan for the future. However, the board by a 3-2 vote has rejected Brian Siegel’s request for a forensic audit.

If we do not fully understand why ECS is where it is, then any efforts to fix it will be kicking the can down the road. Financial issues that have spawned other problems need to be identified and rectified before any forward progress can occur. I refuse to sit on a committee until a forensic audit is performed. I think we should let specially trained accountants explain why:

• We cannot afford to buy buses; we need to lease them.

• Almost all of the tax levy and state aid in the yearly budget goes to salary and benefits.

• $2.5 million in excess fund balance was expended in five years subsidizing yearly budgets.

• The board felt the need to fire a perfectly good superintendent in 2010, and promote from within at a cost of at least $150,000.

• Volunteers and parents need to refurbish the gym floor and the softball field.

• We have at least eight teachers costing over $100,000 when, according to the EFAS contract, salary is capped at Step 20 ($74,000+-) and longevity stipend is capped at Step 26 ($20,000+-).

Why is no one retiring? Shouldn’t there be a retirement incentive? How do you get from $74,000 to $116,000, $107,000, $105,000. There are only so many sports you can coach, so many dances and concerts you can chaperone. ECS has two science teachers costing over $100,000 but no physics class taught by a certified teacher. ECS moved a business teacher with 20 years of experience into a position as a math teacher at the same rate of pay. What did they expect their math scores to look like? In short, where does the money go?

Yes folks, there is trouble “right here in river city.”

[Paul A. Clark Jr. is a resident of Barryville, NY.]


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