Kentucky auditor says, “School finance officers across Kentucky may lack skills for their jobs”
A new report from a new news agency, the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting (KYCIR), says Kentucky Auditor of Public Accounts Adam Edelen says there are serious qualification short-comings in many finance officers in Kentucky’s public school districts. A study recently completed by the auditor found:
● One-third of the commonwealth’s school finance officers don’t have college degrees in accounting or a finance-related field. Those 58 districts represent more than $1.3 billion a year in spending.
● In more than 20 percent of districts, finance officers don’t have a bachelor’s degree in any subject at all.
● Their work experience varies widely. Of Kentucky’s 173 school districts, 33 have finance officers who are former teachers, principals or superintendents. Of those, 18 have no previous financial or accounting experience or education.
● Less than half reported obtaining a finance-related certification.
The shortcomings of district financial people have had important, negative consequences for our students. The KYCIR discusses how the Monticello Independent School District misspent money intended for payroll on property, instead. By December there was no money left to cover staff salaries and the state had to move in with emergency funding to keep the district operating.
For some time the Bluegrass Institute has raised questions about the efficient use of school dollars. Clearly, a starting point for that must be fully qualified financial people to direct the billions of dollars Kentucky currently spends on public education.
Hats off to the auditor’s office for another important study!
And, a hearty welcome to the one-month old KYCIR group which was the first to pick up on this important story.