Then, things went from bad to worse for the ASD. Several days after the ASD principal's arrest, the Tennessee Comptroller's office released an audit noting some financial peculiarities:
- The ASD did not establish adequate controls over several key human resources and payroll processes
- The ASD failed to implement adequate internal controls over its expenditures, travel claims, and purchasing card purchases
- The ASD did not perform sufficient fiscal monitoring of its direct-run schools and charter management organizations
PARTAY with the ASD
Momma Bears has been telling you for quite a while about the ASD's Happy Hours. It is common knowledge in Memphis that the ASD recruits its new teachers by getting them liquored up at local bars with free drinks. We have even heard parents confront ASD officials about sponsoring Happy Hours for teachers. After shrugging their shoulders,
the ASD's response was that they also recruited at daytime events where they offered spa treatments like free mini massages. A veteran teacher was heard to grumble under her breath that she didn't become a teacher for free liquor and back rubs.
- $2,500 on a holiday event at the Sheraton in Memphis, in part to recognize outgoing superintendent Chris Barbic, including expensive finger food, alcohol and a bartender.
- $1,630 worth of alcohol for a staff recognition event and charged it to its Charter School Grant Funding, a private grant in which funding was restricted to operating expenses for five schools.
- An employee took himself and a friend out to dinner on ASD’s dime and bought $22 worth of drinks, plus dessert, and failed to exclude them from his reimbursement. He wound up getting $13 too much, though he reported he didn’t consume the beverages or eat the dessert.
So, the ASD fat cats were partying in hotels and feasting on "expensive finger food [and] alcohol." Meanwhile they served their students moldy food out of a rat infested kitchen. Click the rat below to read that blog again.
We first identified issues involving ASD’s financial and federal program operations during the 2013 Single Audit, and in each of the Single Audit reports since 2013, we have reported deficiencies in ASD’s internal controls and noncompliance with federal program requirements, resulting in approximately $721,000 of federal questioned costs.
We found that Tennessee and the Achievement School District spent $101,903 on unallowable items and activities and did not adequately document another $141,968.
- Almost three quarters of a million dollars in questionable costs
- Over a $100,000 in items not allowed
- Nearly $150,000 in undocumented expenses
We think the Fairley High School principal isn't the only one who needs to be in handcuffs.