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Who is minding the store at DCSS?

A policy that isn’t enforced isn’t much of a policy. And that one is ignored — and apparently has been for years — is worth even less.

It’s particularly troubling when those policies are in place to ensure that taxpayer money is being spent effectively for the benefit for students.

The state has given the Dougherty County School System until Friday to come up with adequate explanations for the expenditure of more than $140,000 in Title I money. The lion’s share of that was $91,000 spent over seven months on a Saturday reading academy for fourth graders that, according to best guesses, reached only a fraction of the 80 students it was intended to serve and $18,000 for a motivational speaker to make three appearances at Dougherty County schools, a function that Title I funds are not supposed to be spent on.

If the system fails to do so, it risks having to repay the state for those expenditures, though a more likely ramification would be that its Title I money for this fiscal year would be cut by that amount. Losing funds needlessly because of poor record keeping or poor management when the system is already strapped for cash is unacceptable.

This comes on the heels of state education officials seeking a cross-reference of the salaries of school system employees who have children getting free or reduced-cost lunches from the school system. Meanwhile, prosecutors are pursuing cases against School Board member Velvet Riggins and Principal Gloria Baker over that very issue, one that has seen a tribunal of two school board members from outside Dougherty County and an assistant state attorney general recommend that Gov. Nathan Deal remove Riggins from office until the charges against her are resolved. That’s not to mention the personnel carousel that’s been spinning because of the CRCT investigations and the School Board’s recent non-rehiring/rehiring and demotion of personnel.

For the Dougherty County school administration and the board, it’s certainly been a summer of discontent.

The spotlight of this latest episode shown harshly on Superintendent Joshua Murfree and Federal Programs Director Betty Graper, prompting Murfree to retort at this week’s School Board meeting that none of this is new, suggesting that contracts be examined for the past decade. Board member David Maschke said the practice has been going on “for years. It is part of a systematic effort to find jobs for family and friends within the school system. What we have here is a wholesale disregard of good business practices” and a “culture of looking after your friends and relatives.”

We encourage the board to go back. If they find this sort of lax to non-existent supervision was going on in Superintendent Sally Whatley’s tenure or even further back, uncover it all and let the chips fall where they may.

But even if that is found to be the case, it is no excuse for this sort of thing to have continued during Murfree’s administration. Dougherty County taxpayers should be able to count on a superintendent who, if he came in and saw policy violations being conducted, would bring them to the the board and public’s attention and summarily cut them out, not use them as a lame excuse and justification for continuing down the same path.

Comments

Sister_Ruby 2 years, 5 months ago

In summary.........

Sister_Ruby1 hour, 54 minutes ago

I just watched the Pride of Lee County (that's Philip, Luke, and pretty soon Buster) in celebration of the American Dream for Leesburg at the Baseball World Series.

Meanwhile, back in Albany, we're scraping excrement off the walls and ceiling and some are asking for who's responsible and some are saying it smells just fine to them.

Quite a contrast to me................

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Sister_Ruby 2 years, 5 months ago

A good title for this story is "Fifty Shades of Brown".........and they all stink.

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OldAlbany 2 years, 5 months ago

Sister Ruby, you keep it real! Hellur...

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MRKIA 2 years, 5 months ago

THIS IS THE PRIMARY REASON MURFREE IS UNQUALIFIED TO RUN THE SCHOOL SYSTEM, AND TOO STUPID TO COVER HIS OWN BUTT. HE SHOULD BE FIRED FOR VIOLATING THE TERMS OF HIS CONTRACT IF DUE DILIGENCE AND REASONABLE JUDGEMENT ARE PART OF THE JOB DESCRIPTION, NEITHER OF WHICH MURFREE HAS EXERCISED TO DATE.

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LoneCycler 2 years, 5 months ago

The Albany Herald has provided compelling evidence that the DCSS is not being managed to provide an education to students. I'm not sure where else citizens would discover that the more students are found to qualify for reduced or free meals the more money is provided to the DCSS. The entire Velvet Riggins and Gloria Baker situation shows why nobody cared whose child was in the program. Any attempt on the part of DCSS to limit the number of students eligible for the program would only result in less money coming in. Its all about the money and not about educating students. With a 54% high school graduation rate the DCSS rakes in somewhere around $8 million per year. If the graduation rate and other indicators improved would that amount increase or decrease? Administrators and teachers that committed fraud in the CRCT program are many but it seems most will continue to have a job. After all, they were just doing their part to bring money into DCSS, weren't they? The idea that the money paid to Sabbs & Associates should result in verifiable results in children's reading skills completely misses the mark. Sabbs will lobby for the DCSS cause the next time he gets a spot on TV or elsewhere, doing his part to bring money in to the system. This is how DCSS pays for its political lobbying efforts. The Superintendant is correct in saying that it has always been this way. And it will always be this way because it is other people's money being spent. That's how it is perceived by the voters that put these people in office.

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chinaberry25 2 years, 5 months ago

What I am speechless over is the Sabb getting $6000 per day. Deal needs to clean house.

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waltspecht 2 years, 5 months ago

one hates to make the comment, but it is time for some heads to roll. Then the replacements need to be at least intelligent enough to read program, policy and grant requirements with a full understanding of them. Yes, the ones that did it were probably doing what the one before them did, but they definately weren't doing their job. When you work in the public trust, you are expected to be ethical and dilligent in your work. Not spend your time figuring ways around the system to gain your, or your Bosses desired end. Maybe it is actually time to have Public Officials actually held accountable for their actions instead of finger pointing. Your in charge, you messed up, you should pay the price. No contract buyout, legal termination for cause.

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Trustbuster 2 years, 5 months ago

We need to adopt S. Carolina's educational reform model. If a school board or supt. continues to engage in unethical use of taxpayers' funds or break the law the governor and state legislature can appoint additional members from the community. Riggins, Murphee and their cronies need to go. I wonder if DOCO board even has a nepotism policy. It is clear from Mr. Coleman's limited investigation that people profited from Title I funds and I believe two of them were Murphee's friends from ASU.

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ObjectiveEyes 2 years, 5 months ago

Who's minding the store at DCSS? I think we can all agree that it is a case of the "inmates running the asylum."

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big2xpapa 2 years, 5 months ago

Can all of their sorry, low-life asses.

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OldAlbany 2 years, 5 months ago

Sister Ruby - you keep it real!

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coachjohnson42 2 years, 5 months ago

And then...Romney tried to speak at the NAACP Convention and got Booed!!!! hahahaha OMG.....He tried to disrespect Obama by calling Affordable Health Care-- "Obama Care"........hahahahaha....He got "booed" for 14 seconds!!!! He thought he had some new friends....until....hahahahaha.......Oh God.....I'm sorry, it was so funny.....Romney made a fool of himself again.....I'm sorry, what was this article about????

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Jacob 2 years, 5 months ago

It was about some black people making an azz of themselves. Kind of like the event you are describing.

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Abytaxpayer 2 years, 5 months ago

ROFLMAO Once again proof the cool-aid drinkers will repeat everything they are told to…way to go Coach…..watch the tape they also gave him a standing ovation several times. At least he has the B*LLS to stand up and tell you in person what his plan is. Where is your Master…oyea he is sending Biden Boy to speak cause he does not have time to waste on folks he knows will blindly follow him. Mitt proved he has guts your master has proved time and time he has no guts just apologies. Way to go Coach DAN!

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Sister_Ruby 2 years, 5 months ago

I would boo Obama if I got the chance but He only goes to friendly audiences that have been hand picked by his event planners.

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coachjohnson42 2 years, 5 months ago

I would Boo you if I ever saw your evil behind in person!!!

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wannabnfla 2 years, 5 months ago

No one is minding the store. How can DOCO be "work ready" when we have such incompetence in our leadership? This place is the laughing stock of the state. Businesses are leaving, residents are leaving and no one seems to be able to stop it. The police departments (all 3 of them) are out numbered by the thugs in this town. Wake up people, elections are just around the corner!

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