Senator Calls for Forensic Audit of Central Falls Schools
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Tassoni cited several questionable expenditures by the school district as the reason he has decided the district finances need closer examination. He said he is concerned, as a state senator, because the school district is funded by the state. “This is state money we’re blowing over there,” Tassoni said.
In an interview yesterday, he said the district had spent $100,000 for what he calls a time clock. “You look at me straight in the eye and tell me it’s worth $100,000 to buy a time clock,” said Tassoni, D-Smithfield. (Purchase orders provided by Tassoni are unclear on the exact amount, but indicate it cost at least $55,000.)
He has also asked why the district pays $7,500 a month to an IT consultant—when it already has an IT department—and is still issuing paychecks to three top-level administrators who are no longer working, which GoLocalProv first reported last week.
Tassoni responds to dismissal of concerns
Last week, Tassoni called for Superintendent Frances Gallo to resign over the mismanagement of the district finances. At the time, the chair of the Board of Trustees, Anna Cano Morales, said he was “misinformed.”
Gallo: Committed to ‘fiscal transparency’
Gallo yesterday told GoLocalProv she has offered to meet with Tassoni to go over any concerns he might have about the budget. “People need to see that we are committed to fiscal transparency and are prepared to go through the budget line by line,” Gallo said.
She disputed the $100,000 figure for the time clock, but was not able to provide an alternative estimate for the cost in time for publication. Purchase orders shows that in March 2010 the district spent at least $55,598 on the system.
She also said the term “time clock” is something of a misnomer. In reality, she said the district bought a new system for keeping track of the hours that secretaries, custodians and other workers log in. She said it would eliminate the need to have clerks do the work and save money. Far from being just a time clock, she said time monitors were installed in each of the district’s buildings. “That is absolutely not mismanagement,” Gallo said. “That is updating an antiquated system and networking and using the best available technology.”
She also defended the cost of the IT consultant, saying the district uses the consultant to relieve its “tiny IT department” when it gets overwhelmed with calls for service.
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