Audit: $7M In School Property Missing In Louisiana

BATON ROUGE (AP) — The state-managed Recovery School District can't locate $7 million in property, things like computers and equipment, a repeated problem across the school system, according to a legislative audit released Monday.

         It's the eighth year in a row that Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera's office has found the same problem in the district, and the review says the number of missing items has grown significantly since last year.

         The Recovery School District is a network of 64 public charter schools in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Shreveport with more than 33,000 students. Most of the schools, which are run with broad autonomy from state officials, are in New Orleans.

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         The auditor's review looked at the budget year that ended June 30. It says that RSD schools don't have proper standards for monitoring the equipment and that district management officials don't properly train employees to keep track of items.

         "The year-to-year cost of replacing lost or stolen movable property items could reduce the availability of funds, federal or state, for other educational objectives," the audit says.

         Patrick Dobard, superintendent of the Recovery School District, disagreed with the value of the missing items, saying they have depreciated and are worth $1.1 million. In a written response, he said many missing items are worthless because they are outdated computer software and systems.

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         "As the RSD converted direct-operated schools into charter schools in the last few years, the new charter school organizations replaced obsolete (information technology) items with more modern technology in order to better serve their students," Dobard wrote.

         He added: "The process for disposing unwanted idle assets was not always clear."

         Dobard said the district has worked to improve inventory tracking, including distributing a handbook that explains the process for getting rid of old property and equipment.

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         – by AP Reporter Melinda Deslatte

         For more information

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