March 21, 2019

School oversight agency making waves with its candor

The state Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team (FCMAT) leads the investigation of Sweetwater Union High School District’s financial crisis, and recently turned heads for their candor discussing the district’s mess.

FCMAT’s Michael Fine told Sweetwater officials they were in the middle of a fiscal crisis brought on by $30 million in overspending. The district had been insisting it was all the result of innocent bookkeeping errors and dysfunctional software. But Fine told a different story as he stepped up to the microphone and delivered a scathing indictment of the district’s role in the crisis.

He described suspicious entries in the district’s budget system and – as if the boardroom had suddenly been delivered into the middle of a procedural crime drama – said, “That, my friends and colleagues, is a cover-up.” The public collectively gasped. A board member’s jaw literally dropped.

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