Inside Education, Part 2 Finance: How Robin Hood Hogs Feast on the School Treasure Chests!

Armand Fusco:

“We’re all born brave, trusting and greedy, and most of us remain greedy.” (Mignon McLaughlin)

Part 1 last week dealt with the elephants in the school budget in order to understand the dynamics of the budget process. If the budgets were prepared as illustrated and monitored regularly, this article could not have been written.

The first thing to understand is what corruption means in education, and the fact that by definition all corruption is not illegal; as a result, corruption can be found in all schools, it’s only a matter of classification and degree. Further, as will be seen, often it goes on for years meaning that required auditing procedures are totally inadequate to identify school corruption.

Corruption: breach of trust, bribery, crime, crookedness, deceit deception, dishonesty, exploitation, evil, extortion, fraud, graft, malfeasance, nepotism, payoff, profiteering, tainted, unethical, untrustworthy and unscrupulousness.

All of these are unpleasant and nasty words, but all do not mean they are illegal or criminal e.g. nepotism is common in politics, education and elsewhere, but not necessarily illegal unless it violates a policy against it.

For my book, School Corruption: Betrayal of Children and the Public Trust, (published after I retired), I divided “corruption” into three separate categories:

• Cheating and Deceitful Practices—CheDe cheaty). It’s the moral and ethical decay of the school culture.

• Waste and Mismanagement—WhaMi (whammy); sometimes difficult to determine because too often, it is in the eyes of the beholder.

• Fraud and Stealing—FraSte (frosty); encompassing embezzlement and fraudulent activities in which actual dollars are involved.
There is also a credo involved that I developed:

“The Superintendent shall diligently identify opportunities to reduce costs and improve operating efficiency in all areas of district operations. ”

Part 1 School Finance: The Elephants in the School Budget.