District 5 audit finds wasteful spending

Open Letter

I am proud of this current board for standing up for the taxpayers, and more importantly for the students as we continue to uncover wasteful spending which has occurred over the last 14 years in D-5.

While I have served for 16 years of the last 20 years, I can assure you I always ran as a conservative voice and on transparency. It caused the same old board members to work against me and even defeat me twice.

I always wondered why certain board members did not want me to be on the board,  especially since I am a teacher in a public school and understand what teachers and students need. After becoming the chair and having a board majority that agrees with me, this procurement audit is happening. The people spoke loud and clear for change in the last 2 school board elections and many of my supporters had asked for an audit since the last Bond Referendum in 2008.

Phase one of the audit was released and it highlighted many procurement policies which were not followed. These problems must be addressed and changed to ensure that these practices will never happen again. Certain findings have been turned over to the proper authorities and are out of our hands. The school board must follow the proper procedures if a procurement audit as information is found.

I want to make it very clear that these problems did not happen under the current board leadership nor under the helm of Superintendent Ross. These problems happened under former superintendents and a school board that had the same chair and vice chair for over 10 straight years. All of those members have either been defeated or resigned. One of those officers made the decision not to run. You be the judge.

I worked hard in the last 2 elections to support new people on this board and I am proud to say that all of those candidates won. Two of those leaders are up for re-election in November, Ken Loveless and Nikki Gardner, They have both been leaders in making this procurement audit happen, along with other board members who care deeply about doing the right thing.

This board has shown great courage in taking such a bold action on such an important issue. We must rebuild trust so that a board can go forward doing what is best for all our students in all our schools.

Any wasted dollar is a needed dollar in the classroom. 

Jan Hammond

D-5 School Board Chair