Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Some financial accountability, please

There is an item from Bentonville that brings to mind the constant complaining of Dr. Ben Mays, the Clinton veterinarian and unceasing watchdog over high school athletic expenses. Mays is a member of the state board of education and is always insisting on accountability.

For some strange reason, local school districts treat athletic expenses like a state secret. Of course, so-called boosters and former jocks want us to believe that sports are self-supporting and, to maintain that clever fiction, they like to keep honest accounting to a minimum. When time comes to release the consolidated state reports, there are always plenty of blank spaces.

I have long said that this concealment of relevant information probably proves that districts not only don’t have a clue what it costs to play ball, they don’t know what it costs to run a library or teach biology.

Bentonville, it turns out, had a software problem so severe that they did not reconcile the check book for one year. They did not properly account for deposits from the day care center, and did not properly handle cash. This must happen all over the place. None of these things are hanging offenses, but it should suggest to all involved that a little more care might be necessary with the people’s money.

(Broadcast July 18, 2007)

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