Tuesday, March 6, 2012

There Are Things I Will Never Understand

One of those things is people stealing from schools--especially school districts already under stress with kids full of poverty. And the worst part is that those criminals just give all the other hard-working people in the district a black eye, and they make it harder to muster support for all schools.

They are predators.

Witness today's report from the Detroit News: Ex-Pontiac school official indicted in corruption probe.

As the FBI Special Agent in Charge Andrew Arena says in the article,
"This type of public corruption not only violates the trust of the community but also robs children of opportunity."

I'm told this is the tip of the iceberg. . . that there is more scandal to come.

And there is a local connection as well.

A couple of years ago a well-loved principal left Ypsilanti High School. He ended up as a principal in Pontiac, and--eventually--as interim superintendent. Jon Brown was terminated from the Pontiac schools this fall, and now he has filed a whistleblower lawsuit, alleging his termination was related to his efforts to uncover fraud in the district.

Assuming that is true, I believe there will be more indictments.

According to a February 18, 2012 article in the Oakland Press,

Brown alleges that while he was superintendent, he uncovered substantial amounts of fraud and misuse of district funds, including unauthorized payments to staff, suspected misappropriation and overspending of grant funds, execution of vendor contracts without appropriate approvals and misuse of district credit cards.
The district was operating with a $25 million deficit at the time, he said.
“This is a classic whistleblower’s case where a conscientious employee reported violations and got punished,” said Carol Laughbaum, an attorney with Gordon’s firm.
“This is an outrageous abuse of the public trust. The whole thing is beyond troubling.”

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