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Members of the State Audit Petition Campaign Coalition, which campaigned for the audit of the Springfield Public Schools, held a press conference Thursday to give their reaction to the audit’s findings. KSMU’s Melanie Foehrweiser has details.
State auditor Tom Schweich found 14 areas that needed improvement in the school district, ranging from how it handled the sale of the old Hickory Hills School property to how it kept its personnel records.
Virgil Hill, a spokesman for the group that called for the audit, said that initially, the group’s reaction to the findings was a very positive one; the group acknowledged that the audit was only the first step toward establishing greater accountability for the district.
Now, Hill says he feels that Superintendent Norm Ridder and several school board members are not taking the audit’s recommendations seriously. Hill says he feels several people within the district should be held responsible for the shortcomings addressed in the audit.
“We are calling for the resignations and replacement of Superintendent Ridder, Chief Finanacial Officer Chodes, and those Board members who have both consistently failed to perform their principal statutory obligation for fiduciary oversight and are now vigorously resisting implementation of the Auditor’s recommendationsm,” Hill said.
KSMU was unable to connect with Ridder for comment.
After the state auditor released his findings, Springfield Public Schools issued a written response, saying the school district is considering hiring an internal auditor, which was one of the recommendations made in the state audit.
In a release from Springfield Public Schools, Ridder is quoted as saying the audit will result in improvements to the district. He said, in that release, that the school district will carefully weigh the potential benefits of each recommendation with the costs. He said he wants to be careful not to draw resources away from the classroom just to beef up administrative staffing.
For more information visit our website, www.KSMU.org.
For KSMU News, I’m Melanie Foehrweiser.