How long will the district remain in a financial deficit?

The district financial plan will be implemented over the course of two years. Given the fact that the district will end the year in a $2M deficit, and with the proposed strategic financial plan, the DeSoto ISD will finish the 2019-2020 school year with an $11M fund balance. By the end of the 2020-2021 school year, the district has a goal of having developed the fund balance to an estimated $20M--$5M above the district’s 2017-2018 start-of-year fund balance which was said to be the district’s healthiest fund balance in district history.

Is there evidence of criminal activity as related to the district’s current financial state?

As based on a review of the information and artifacts available district officials, there does not appear to be evidence of misappropriation of funds. However, any findings of concern have been reported to the appropriate authorities for their review and eventual action as deemed appropriate as based on any subsequent review.

How are administrators being held accountable as it relates to our current financial state?

Any findings of concern, which are believed to be rooted in mismanagement and not misappropriation, have been reported to the appropriate authorities as required and where necessary. It is up to those entities to determine further necessary action as based on their review of the matters reported.

In the interim CFO’s review of financial activity in the district, it has become apparent that, under the previous administration, the district failed to establish sound practices for budgetary monitoring including regular and periodic budget review and analysis and that there was little to no indication of evidence of adequate processes and procedures to create internal controls and safeguards that would have prevented some of the missteps that have taken place to date.

How will the district ensure that its finances are properly managed in the future?

A significant transition in this concern is that the district now has proven experts employed in high-impact areas such as finance. The current interim-CFO has more than 30 years of experience in school finance and has served as an interim CFO for school entities such as Garland ISD and Dallas County Schools. She has led the district finance team through the work of uncovering the issues at hand while providing viable solutions towards resolution of these findings.

A significant consideration in the hiring of recent administrators appointed to replace previous district leaders has been their demonstration of ethical and honest leadership.

How did the Board of Trustees allow the district to evolve to this current financial state?

The Board of Trustees was reliant on the information provided to them by the former administration. What has been discovered in the transition of the former administration is that there was a consistent failure to report financial activity and necessary amendments to the Board.

Under the current administration, the Board receives regular updates and amendments to the Budget through the newly-established Board Finance Committee creating a system for regular reporting, accountability, shared approvals and collaborative decision-making.

Following the CBS Report, how will the public know that similar activity is not still ongoing in the district?

The CBS 11 News Report focused on activities related to travel and credit card spending. Last fall, the district recalled all district credit cards; required a purchase order system for all district spending; revised travel and credit card guidelines; and regularly trains staff on the revised appropriate processes and procedures for approved access to the district’s resources.

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