letter to the editor

An Open Letter to Superintendent Porter / Confusion vs. Contradiction


Superintendent Porter:

I found your comments last week on Bill Becker’s “Morning Magazine” about finances at the HOB daycare operation to be confusing, if not contradictory.

You told Becker that you thought it perfectly appropriate, without explanation, not to inform the School Board, the State Attorney or anyone else for that matter when HOB Principal Mike Henriquez told you a year ago about financial problems, if not irregularities, with the HOB daycare operation. Rather, you took it upon yourself to conduct an internal investigation sotto voce.

Last spring, you decided to engage the services of an accounting firm to audit the finances of the HOB daycare operation. It is my understanding that District policy requires that the results of ANY audit is to be reported to the School Board. If that is the case, why did you not make the results of the May, 2015 audit available to the School Board?

You told Becker that it was appropriate at this juncture to inform the School Board, the State Attorney or anyone else for that matter. I fail to understand the distinction that you are drawing, that it was inappropriate to make public in November, 2014 the financial problems at the HOB daycare operation but somehow it became appropriate in May, 2015 to make public those problems. Regardless, you did not make the information of May, 2015 public until it was revealed by the local media and the decision of the Auditor General to include it in its Annual Report. If it was appropriate to make the information public in May, 2015, why did you not do so? That question deserves an answer.

I am also informed that then Board Chairman John Dick twice urged you to refer the matter to the State Attorney’s office, but you did not follow that urging. My sources tell me that you did not inform the State Attorney until Friday, November 20, 2015 when you had virtually no choice in the matter.

I believe that the School Board and the public in general deserve a better explanation for your actions. It certainly appears that you would have never made public the financial problems at the HOB daycare operation were you not forced to do so by the public exposure in the press. Once again, it appears that the failure to reveal, “cover-up”, is more damning and damaging to public confidence in the School District and its ability to manage its finances than the offense itself. If nothing else, your extreme reluctance to find fault with anyone requires some sort of explanation.

As you well know, there is much more to be said on this subject and much of it will be said at the next School Board meeting. It is incumbent on you to clarify, to fully explain, any ambiguity or confusion associated with this issue.

Larry Murray

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