Scottsdale Unified School District Superintendent David Peterson and his cheerleader-board members (Bonnie Sneed, George Jackson, and recently-elected member Kim Hartmann) have some explaining to do, in light of a report from the Arizona Auditor General released today. That report says, in part:
Costs not accurately reported
In fiscal year 2012, the District did not always properly classify its expenditures in accordance with the Uniform Chart of Accounts for school districts. As a result, the District’s Annual Financial Report did not accurately reflect its costs, and its reported instructional expenditures were falsely increased by over $5 million, or 3 percentage points.
Further, the District has not accurately reported its costs for many years. For example, between fiscal years 2004 and 2009, the District annually reported millions of dollars of electricity costs as instructional spending rather than plant operations spending as required by the Uniform Chart of Accounts.
Additionally, in fiscal years 2012 and 2013, the District reported its costs for speech and physical therapy, guidance counseling, and psychology services for students as instructional spending although the Uniform Chart of Accounts defines these costs as student support services. Further, in fiscal year 2014, the District began misreporting its costs for property liability insurance as instructional spending rather than plant operations spending, as required by the Uniform Chart of Accounts. [underlines added]
Standby for more disturbing news on related SUSD topics.
The District’s administration lied to the State, lied to the Governing Board and lied to us (the taxpayers) as to how our tax dollars were being used. Unfortunately, this SNAFU goes all the way to the top. There need to be changes made and if the current Board is unwilling to make those changes, Scottsdale will elect candidates that have the courage to do what is required to save our District yet again from the clutches of unscrupulous politicians and administrators.
At what point do we give up on this District? We keep hanging on. We want to believe our kids get as great of an education as our miserly State will allow. But we keep getting kicked in the guts by Dave Peterson. He has, quite simply, lied to us. He’s been doing it for years. Not only does he get the District to falsify the Accounting Reports, but he also has set up “Generic User Accounts” so those who falsify the data can go undetected [he hopes].
This has to end now. There is not one scintilla of a chance that this community will put up with the nonsense now we know that lies were told to us and then covered up.
Bonnie Sneed is the President of this Board. Bonnie Sneed must move to terminate Peterson.
Here is my problem – When did the district know of these issues? What happened once they were made aware of it? These issues are not things that just came to light. So they have had time to address this. Oh wait, for YEARS there have been problems. OK, where are the firings of those in charge of those issues?
I worked many years with Fortune 500 companies, and ZERO of them would have allowed “Generic User Accounts” to exist, and to have the district try to explain them away makes it worse. That is insanity and simply not allowable. Does the person or people who run the IT portion of SUSD have any idea how horrible it is to have such a massive issue exposed? So anybody with access to those accounts can do what exactly? What has been done exactly? Does the district even know?
The most BASIC of security audits should have screamed – FIX THIS NOW. But hey, the IT staff is paid more than the peers, so that should demand even a higher amount of scrutiny. How can ANY information be deemed valid now? This is not just financial reporting – which is a disaster to hear about – BUT – “student information systems”! So has nobody heard of FERPA in SUSD? Student records are protected by FEDERAL LAW. Why were they put in jeopardy?
How much damage has been done to the validity of the student information on those “systems”? Could just any “Generic User Account” just view and change them at will? How does it make a student feel that his or her information is now compromised?
This is the year 2015, not the dawn of information technology. For YEARS companies have been slammed for not locking down their information infrastructure. How can a SCHOOL DISTRICT operate like information technology is a new thing they have encountered? This is not just some company losing profits, it is the children losing funding for education, not to mention the lack of integrity of the student information on those “systems.”
Don’t give the line of legacy systems, reporting requirements, bla bla – The district should have been able to provide a STEP BY STEP document saying System X gets IDs generated like so. These IDs get this access, those get that access. But hey – let us just leave “Generic User Accounts” just in case? Who had or has access to those accounts, what level of access do those accounts give, and where is your audit of the continued need for such accounts?
My real world knowledge, my industry certifications, and just common sense show me a district that has MASSIVE IT issues. These issues can have huge implications on data validity. The financial reporting should be redone by a 3rd party. The public must be made aware of what exactly is wrong and how it is corrected ASAP. How many years of financial reports are invalid? How many student records have or are compromised by this?
People must be terminated and trust needs to be rebuilt. The leadership of this district must realize they have destroyed public trust with these actions and obvious inaction. This is not a one off issue, it is a continual problem that was ONLY revealed in a State Audit multiple times. There are obvious shortcomings in the leadership of the district and they must know that education is funded by the Federal, State, and Local governments. To assume that all those entities have been given valid information is suspect.
Education needs funding, but SUSD has compromised the data which the funding is based on. The reports shows funds that could have been used to avoid the pains they endured. As a voter in Scottsdale I cannot say this district has my confidence. How can I say that my vote for or against anything has made a real difference, as we have seen the district can’t keep its data safe and in a proper manner. People need to be fired and corrections need to be done now. No excuses, no learning experiences with this, direct immediate action. If that is not done the public needs to demand it. The district runs from OUR tax dollars. The district needs to keep its records straight and is has not. Shame on SUSD, these actions hurt the children. How many educational opportunities have been lost?
Just another elected scumbag! Business as usual.
Get rid of Dave Peterson now! He has not been a leader that SUSD needs! As a retired Scottsdale teacher, I felt his lack of leadership and understanding of what it takes to help our students. He is NOT an educator. Time for him to go!
We were told on a neighborhood website that Dr Peterson was going to request funding to rebuild Tonalea. Most of us do not believe that will happen. Mr Richard mentioned that in a post but we haven’t heard another word. Why should we believe this will happen? Sounds like this info isn’t any too reliable.
Lori – If I could answer your question from what I know – We now have a different set of issues on our table. Peterson said he was going to do the following at the meeting, but now what? He has not reached out to community. At this point I am more suspect of his actions and wonder why he would even entertain the idea of reaching out with this on the table.
The Coronado Neighborhood Schools Alliance is still active on the Tonalea and other issues with our schools. This report only brings forth the need for the community to speak louder and demand answers.
The first step is going to be to DEMAND ACTION of the school board ASAP. The next board meeting is June 9th. We as a community need to be there and DEMAND answers. As the public we get our 3 minutes a person. I suggest EVERYONE comes to that Board meeting and say their mind.
Just a small update, the district responds.