Monday, August 17, 2009


The Detroit Public Schools have been issuing paychecks to 257 nonexistent employees and millions of dollars in benefits for dependents who aren't eligible, an auditor's report issued recently has reported.

The district, which is about twice the size of the Omaha Public Schools, also has a warehouse full of unused motorcycles, BlackBerrys, metal detectors and other equipment in the face of a quarter-of-a-billion dollar budget deficit and talk of filing for federal bankruptcy protection.

See the cavalcade of management prowess on:


If even 10% of this is going on in the Omaha Public Schools, it would go a long way toward explaining why that urban district's spending is going up, up, up . . . while minority dropout rates do the same darn thing.

Makes you wonder if THIS is why certain Nebraska politicians and unions have fought tooth and nail against performance audits of our billion dollars annually in K-12 school spending. Maybe they know something we don't know . . . or should.

The audits we have now are pretty much pro forma: the school district says it spent this much, and yep! The auditors that the school boards hire and pay agree that they spent that much. It isn't a real check-and-balance at all.

What we need is more of a forensic audit that would turn up frauds like "invisible teachers" who get paychecks, or "invisible students" on doctored enrollment tallies for whom taxpayers are paying bogus state aid.

At the very least, we need to employ spot-check performance audits that can tell the people how much they spent and what on. We should start with the major urban districts in Omaha and Lincoln. Who knows what we may find? You never know until you look.

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Yes, large school districts and all government entities in Nebraska need real performance audits like a dead man needs a coffin. Omaha Public Schools, for example, is so tangled up in its own labyrinthine management structure they apparently have lost almost all effectiveness, ranking almost dead last in the nation in the racial learning gap.

A decent performance audit, which makes suggestions about how to save money by eliminating worthless programs and managers, saves many, many times the cost of the audit.
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