As voters prepare to decide on a $1.35 billion bond package in May, officials of the Dallas Independent School District admitted fault for the delays in filing the fiscal 2007 audit.
At a meeting before the trustees last week, superintendent Michael Hinojosa pointed to improperly trained employees and problems with an accounting software system as the main impetus behind the delay.
DISD currently serves about 160,000 students.
The district has said for months that the audit may uncover “systemic problems with internal controls.” The finances of the second-largest school system in the state — and 12th largest in the nation — have been plagued by scandal and scrutinized for years, especially since the summer of 2006 ,when it was discovered that hundreds of employees were abusing district-issued credit cards.
Failure to submit the audit on time resulted in an automatic failure under the Texas Education Agency’s Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas, or School FIRST, program.
DISD’s fiscal year ended June 30, 2007, and officials had 150 days to submit the audit. Hinojosa said it would not be completed for at least two more months.
On May 10, district voters will face $1.35 billion bond package for 15 new schools, 12 additions, and about $500 million of renovations to more than 200 campuses.
DISD’s debt carries underlying ratings of AA from Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s and Aa3 from Moody’s Investors Service.