Feds involved in DCSS operations - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Feds involved in DCSS operations

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

The Inspector General's Office is remaining quiet about what could happen to the Dougherty County school board after state officials alerted them about the numerous problems plaguing the system.

No one is sure what will come of this new move, but one thing is clear- after being under close watch by the state, the Dougherty County school system can now expect more scrutiny than ever before.

Since May, the Dougherty County school board has been faced with investigations into questionable spending of federal money and close scrutiny from the state. Currently state officials have frozen more than $20 million in funds.

"Frankly I don't see that as a bad thing, just like I don't see them putting us on high risk status as a bad thing. Because the board and the administration have to work through that in order to reestablish the trust of the community," said DCSS member David Maschke.

The audit committee of the State Board of Education referred the Dougherty County School system to inspector general's office, alerting them of several problems, including lack of internal controls, poor management and failure to follow policies and procedures, just to name a few.

"This, according to those who keep the archives, is the first time the State of Georgia has ever had to refer to something to the inspector general," said Audit Chairman Larry Winter.

And such unusual circumstance has everyone guessing about what could happen. "I think the operative word is inspector. And I think that with regard to the federal programs and federal funds that we would receive that the system can expect rather close scrutiny, increased and close scrutiny from both the state and federal government," said DCSS attorney Tommy Coleman.

As of right now, Coleman says no one has been contacted by the inspector general's office, and they gave us no comment. "They are probably uninformed, completely uniformed, other than the documents they have received from the Georgia Department of Education about what to expect. And so when they evaluate those I'm sure they'll be knocking at our door and asking for certain things," Coleman said.

Coleman says the school system will have to be ready to provide any information state or federal officials may request. Coleman says more effort will be needed from the employees within the school system to provide appropriate documents and information once the feds make a move.

Copyright 2012 WALB.  All rights reserved.

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