PRC Board meeting on audit again on Monday

Published 2:03 pm Friday, March 25, 2011

The Pearl River Co. school board has set another public workshop for Monday at 6 p.m. to discuss and address the results of a state education dept. audit that found the board and administration of Supt. Dennis E. Penton in noncompliance with state educational accountability standards.

It will be the second meeting within a week devoted to discussions on the issues raised by the highly critical audit.

The board was cited for three instances of noncompliance and the administration 20 in a report presented to the board on March 10 by Paula Vandaford, head of the state  education dept.’s office of accreditation.

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Monday’s meeting will be held in the board meeting room on the campus here. Last Monday’s session was held in the cafeteria because the board expected a large crowd. Attending last Monday’s session was 57.

The board last Monday took no public comments, saying the session was a workshop. It is not clear whether the board will take private citizen input as they draw up a response to the state dept. of education’s findings.

Last Monday, both board president Twila Crabtree and board attorney Jim Keith said the report’s finding are serious. Crabtree said each charge will be addressed, and Keith cautioned the board to take a positive approach to the matter, get the matter behind them and move on to acquire full compliance.

The audit was ordered by State Supt. of Education Tom Burnham after written complaints and newspaper stories were brought to his attention.

Åuditors researched district decisions and actions back to 2008 and performed on-campus investigation and interviews Oct. 18 to Nov. 12.

The audit charged that the school board had violated the state’s open meetings law and was inserting itself into administrative areas reserved for Penton.

The board in Monday’s meeting admitted to the violations of the open meetings law and said it will move to follow the law meticulously.