Fuzzy math at BISD

For the second time in as many weeks, The Examiner has uncovered an audit submitted to the Texas Education Agency that was changed after the board approved it.

Just last week, the newspaper revealed that board members Terry Williams and Woodrow Reece signed off on the 2011 audit as if it were the final version to be sent to the state. Now the audit from the previous year has also found to be altered – and it wasn’t until two months later before the issue was addressed by the board, the district’s auditor Gayle Botley and assistant superintendent for business and finance Robert Zingelmann.

As pointed out by two BISD trustees, this was not a problem until Zingelmann came onboard at BISD. Jane Kingsley, who served in the position before Zingelmann, didn’t submit draft audits to the board and no changes were found to audit documents after they were presented to the board of trustees for final approval. So why are there problems now?

Most likely the answer is incompetence, but it could be something more sinister. If the problem is of the sinister nature, then the district attorney and the FBI need to step in and prosecute those responsible – whether it be the board members who falsely swore the documents they were submitting to the state were accurate, or members of the business office who changed the documents after the approval. And if it is just a matter of incompetence, then it is time the board of trustees reorganized its business office and got rid of the problem, starting at the top. You don’t kill a snake by chopping off its tail. In this case, Zingelmann should be asked to resign and if he won’t leave voluntarily, then the board should take the appropriate action to terminate his employment with the district.

Already trustees are on record saying they have no faith in the business office and they don’t trust the information being received. It would seem if that is the case, then it’s time for a change.

The TEA has given BISD until next week to explain why the documents submitted to the agency were altered, and Zingelmann’s excuse was there is a problem with the district’s new financial software. So that explains the problem for last year. What about the year before? Sooner or later those responsible for the problems at BISD need to be held accountable, and that time has now come.