The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Viewpoint-New blood needed for Dallas ISD board

By Steve Knight/managing editor

The time for a change of leadership in the Dallas Independent School District has arrived.

The district has had major problems with educational and financial mismanagement for years, but this school year, the problems have become a crisis.

DISD discovered an $84 million budget shortfall in September, resulting in 500 employee layoffs, mostly teachers. Unlike other professions, teachers cannot simply find another job in the middle of the school year.

The district had hired more teachers than the budget had provided for.

How does that happen?

Principals hired teachers at discretion, not bothering to check the budget.

Dr. Michael Hinojosa, DISD superintendent, said in his State of the District speech, the deficit occurred because administrators miscalculated average teacher salaries and did not realize how many positions had been added during the year.

Isn’t that why we teach our children math? And how does anyone suddenly lose $84 million?

Obviously, it was not an “oops, we put a decimal point in the wrong place” mistake. It was incompetence.

In another example of accounting incompetence, an internal auditor’s report of the payroll department showed 1,627 workers did not receive their paychecks in September, around 7 percent of the district’s workforce, according to The Dallas Morning News.

Also, “employee status was not kept current in the [human resources] database to reflect whether employee has active or inactive status. Inactive employees cannot receive payroll checks,” the report stated.

The audit also showed 2,143 employees did not have a pay grade listed in their payroll records, about 10 percent of the workforce.

DISD had no idea how many employees it had on the payroll.

Teachers and staff paid for those mistakes with their jobs.

It looks as though principals could also bear responsibility for changing grades to keep certain star basketball players at South Oak Cliff High School eligible.

The school already vacated its 2006 state championship, and it looks as if it may return its 2005 championship as well. The players named in WFAA’s investigative report now play in college or the NBA.

Obviously, DISD has a culture of no checks and no balances.

Hinojosa and the board of trustees, who canceled May elections and voted to extend their terms by a year, should resign.

The kids in Dallas deserve better, but who would want to be the next DISD superintendent?

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