Baltimore County Council members are pressing the county school board to release an audit of school system contracts and finances.
In a letter dated Friday to board Chairwoman Kathleen Causey, six of the council’s seven members urged the board to make a draft of the audit public. The members cited the $400,000 cost to taxpayers of performing the audit.
“The purpose of the audit was to restore the public’s confidence in the school system and to ensure that the Board and BCPS are spending taxpayer dollars appropriately and efficiently,” states the letter, signed by six of the board’s seven members. The only council member who did not sign was Councilman Wade Kach, a Cockeysville Republican who represents the same district as Causey.
In their letter, the six council members wrote that “while the Board may have legitimate reasons for the month’s long delay, its silence has done nothing to dispel the public’s concerns.”
County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. has also tried to obtain the draft audit, but the school board turned him down.
On Wednesday, the board promised to release the final audit within weeks. In a statement that day, Causey said that accountability and transparency are priorities for the board, but sometimes “there are legal constraints to transparency.”
She also said there is “misinformation about the draft audit report, recently received by the Board, causing undue concern in our communities.”
The board says it’s not legally required to release the audit report because it is not yet finalized.
Causey said in an email to The Baltimore Sun on Friday that she has emailed each council member to say they will get a copy of the audit once it is finalized by the auditor.
The council members who signed the letter were: Democrats Cathy Bevins, Julian Jones, Izzy Patoka and Tom Quirk; and Republicans Todd Crandell and David Marks.
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The school board hired the firm UHY to perform the audit. It was launched after former superintendent Dallas Dance was convicted last year of four counts of perjury for failing to disclose a part-time job he had with a company that contracted with the school system.