House blocks GOP push for school audits

HB 3331 Establishes Mandatory Financial Auditing for School Districts, ESDs
By Oregon House Republicans

SALEM”” For the second consecutive session, House Republicans today sought House passage of legislation to increase accountability in education spending. HB 3331 would require mandatory independent financial audits for each Oregon school district and Education Service District. The bill would also help create statewide financial standards to improve how education dollars are spent. As they did in 2007, Democrats rejected a motion to bring HB 3331 and its accountability measures to the House Floor for a debate and vote.

“After passing a $6 billion K-12 budget, Oregonians deserve to know whether their tax dollars are being spent wisely,” said Rep. Ron Maurer (R-Grants Pass), a former school board chair. “HB 3331 would create a system for auditing school finances and would help make sure we are maximizing funding for classroom instruction. In addition to stronger schools, Oregonians would feel more confident that their tax dollars are being used more efficiently and effectively.”

Currently, financial audits of school districts and ESDs are voluntary. HB 3331 would require mandatory financial reviews of each school district and ESD to determine whether they are meeting standards for best financial management practices. If a district or ESD fails to meet these standards, the state would assist them in finding and implementing solutions.

“HB 3331 would enable school districts and ESDs to identify and solve problem areas,” said Rep. Gene Whisnant (R-Sunriver). “This idea has been implemented as a pilot project in a small number of districts, and has produced positive results in improving financial practices. As financial practices improve, we can send more dollars to the classroom and help better prepare our kids for the future.”

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Posted by at 06:29 | Posted in Measure 37 | 12 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Jerry

    Why anyone would want accountability for our tax dollars is beyond me.

    Can’t we just trust them to do what is best for the children?

    I know I do.

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  • Vernon

    Schools already have oversight by a school board, governor and public.

    • Scottiebill

      “Schools already have oversight by a school board, governor, and public.”

      A school board that may or may not have any real power or credibility or even the will to enforce their own rules, much less their own reason for existing in the first place. A governor that is completely and absolutely clueless as to what is going on in his state. And a public that, for the most part in Blue State Oregon, will follow in lockstep with whatever the state legislature says and does.

      Those are three ingredients for a disastrous meltdown of the public school system. Apparently that is what the Dems in the Oregon legislature have in mind. Or that they have something going on that they need covered up. Time will eventually tell. It always does.

  • eagle eye

    Have these Republicans actually discovered some irregularities or fraud in the school districts, or is this just a scheme to whip up publicity and create even more bureaucracy and inefficiency in the public schools? How much is this going to cost and who will pay for the auditors? How much time will it take away from real education?

    • brad

      I might assume spending records are maintained accurately and electronically to allow for easy reference by an outside accounting firm. I am inclined to ask, “How can we not afford to be accountable to the public if we expect to maintain their trust.” When any entity resists accountability, I suspect there are usually good reasons.

      • eagle eye

        Again, is there reason to believe there are real problems? Or is this just a scheme to harrass the school districts and waste their money? (I can assure you that even with good records, accounting doesn’t come cheap.)

        In my precincts (Eugene), an audit simply isn’t an issue. If this is what the Republicans have to offer, there will be even fewer of them in the future.

        • Joey Link

          Are you kidding? The fact that private schools are giving children a much better education for half the cost that we taxpayers pay is about the biggest indicator there’s a problem one can imagine.

          • eagle eye

            Whether what you say about private schools is true or not, it’s nothing you’d find or cure in an audit. You’re talking about policy questions, not accounting questions.

            I can already tell you, pay the Eugene school district teachers 80% what they’re getting now, and you’ll save a lot of money. But I don’t need an audit to figure that out.

            Again, what is the problem? Is there widespread fraud going on? Is there reason to suspect so? Do not the school districts already have their own accountants?

            Whatever happened to the Republican ideas of local control, non-excessive regulation?

  • Ardbeg

    Who pays for the audits? Schools already have a very public ‘budget committee’ where any citizen can volunteer to serve and help shape each years budget and priorities.

    • Jerry

      Yes, 6 BILLION can hardly be enough to educate the childrens of today.

  • Rupert in Springfield

    Is it just me, or does it seem a little odd that the single biggest tem in the budget doesn’t have some real good accounting as to where the money is going?

    Maybe taxpayers should adopt the same attitude as the school districts. When audited they should simply say that accounting is real expensive and any attempt by the state for accurate accounting when a corporate or personal return is questioned is nothing more than an attempt to make political hay because the state hates taxpayers.

    It’s a school, not a nunnery. If schools are going to constantly complain about funding issues, as they are wont to do, then it seems only appropriate there should be accurate accounting.

    And yes, because I think schools should have accurate accounting, that does mean I think all teachers should be sent to the gas chamber and I hate kids.

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