Update: a reader asked about who pays for these audits and I mistakenly said the SAO. It turns out that the Legislature had passed a law for a hotline but had not funded it. For the first year, the SAO ate the cost for hotline investigations but could not sustain that cost. So if the State Auditor chooses to go forward with hotline requests (and I'm sure they don't follow-thru with all of them), it costs the district $83.60 per hour. (I just removed that "number of hours" as that is for the NEXT audit, not this special one.)
On the one hand you could say, "Well, look at that money and the SAO found nothing illegal." On the other hand, you can look at this sad and sorry mess of a process and say that it sure doesn't look good or smell good. I'll have more to report on this after I read the SAO work product documents which I believe will make compelling reading.
End of update
A new low for reporting is the Times' article about the MLK, Jr. building sale.
Oh, you can certainly say they reported the "facts" of the State Auditor report. That is absolutely true. But boy, did they use some charged wording and leave out a whole lotta the report. The closest they get is this:
The audit also documented those efforts, while finding them to be within rules. The Times story described how the district bent over backward to get the empty school into the hands of well-connected First AME.
They completely left out the bulk of the report which is the timeline and background. They left out the legislators involved. They left out that Dr. Goodloe-Johnson overrode the selection committee's recommendation.
Unbelievable. This is accurate and objective reporting? Or does the Times need to protect some people? I note that this article was not written by the new Times ed reporter.
In his own whopper, Director DeBell said,
In a statement Monday, School Board Michael DeBell said, "The auditor confirms that we had an open, public process and the board handled the sale of this school appropriately."
Michael, I'm not sure with all the back-room dealing going on that you can truly say it was an "open" process. It may have been open to any bidder but clearly a couple of them got extra chances and got propped up by some state legislators.