Tuesday, June 13, 2000

Audit of schools turns up problems




By James Pilcher
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A state audit of the Covington Independent School District released Monday calls for the system to return state funds for at least four students who supposedly were taught at home or in a hospital but were not properly documented.

        And that was just the start. Using words such as “alarming,” “troubling,” and “unsatisfactory,” the audit by the Kentucky Department of Education found problems in every function of the 4,800-student system, from how the bills are paid to how kids are taught.

        The audit, requested by the Covington School Board, was split into a management review and a scholastic review. Besides outlining prob lems, it recommended sweeping changes.

        The state said that if the proper documentation could be found for the four students, the district would not be liable for about $28,000 in state funding.

        Other findings included:

        „Curriculum is not aligned throughout the system, meaning what first-graders are taught may not coincide with what they will learn at successive levels. Curriculum also is overly dependent on textbooks.

        „The system lacks documentation that several bus drivers have fully completed required training.

        „Eight facilities are out of compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

        „Teachers have little or no opportunity for professional development.

        „Most schools do not have a proper log-in/log-out procedure.

        „There is no preventive maintenance program in place, and the current state of Covington's facilities is unacceptable.

        „There is little coordination between district administrators and local tax officials to ensure timely and accurate tax bills.

        „The “haphazard” counseling program is not properly staffed or coordinated with other programs at individual schools.

        „A feeling by parents that teachers and administrators “just don't care.”

        It took place throughout May, with auditors reporting a reluctance by many local teachers and administrators to participate in the review.

        KDE spokeswoman Lisa Gross said the state would not consider taking over the district if the problems are not fixed, however.

       



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