"School system audit late again; $11.8M withheld by state for missing deadline another year"
Gazette, December 1, 2005 (by Guy Leonard, Staff Writer)
In what looks like a repeat of last year’s financial woes for the Prince George’s County Public School System, the state Department of Education is withholding $11.8 million from the county for not finishing its fiscal 2005 system audit on time.
The audit was originally due Sept. 30, but the county was given an extension until the end of November.
But a Nov. 18 letter from the state education department stated that the first installment of state aid would be held up because of the system’s inability to produce the audit after the extension was up.
[. . .]
‘‘In my [letter] dated Nov. 3, I advised you that your school system is not in compliance with this reporting requirement and advised that you submit the missing documents by no later than Nov. 16 or risk withholding of the funds,” wrote Mary Clapsaddle, assistant superintendent for the Division of Business Service.
[. . .]
Peter Morici, an economist with the University of Maryland at College Park’s Robert Smith School of Business, said that the repeated lateness of the audit, coupled with the ongoing corruption investigation into alleged bribes in the county government, create doubt about the county’s ability to govern at all levels.
‘‘There’s a general crisis of confidence about the competence of government in Prince George’s County,” Morici said. ‘‘How can we have a running school system when they can’t keep good books?
[. . .]
Jim Keary, spokesman for Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnson (D), said that the audit’s tardiness was not exactly a surprise.
‘‘Of course we are concerned that the audit was late, but it’s not unexpected because of the lateness of the fiscal 2004 audit,” Keary said. ‘‘This won’t change the funding of the school board. We’re still going to give them what was approved in the [fiscal] 2006 budget. This will have no impact on our [county] bond rating.”
Where is the outrage? Failure by our school and county officials has become so routine that the officials show no shame and there are few if any public or media calls for the immediate removal of the failing officials.