and one of them says to the others, “Would you guys know there was a half a million dollars of our lunch money missing?”
“Nope, we would not,” says the others.
“Then we must be the Concord School District Finance Committee!” says the first member.
And everyone in the bar laughed! True story, and it has just come to the standard municipal conclusion.
It seems the Concord School District Charter was amended in 1983 to eliminate the need for voter oversight (same just happened with the Kearsarge Regional School District, the towns of Merrimack, and Peterborough). The cracker-jack team of nine school board oligarchs, along with their obligatory education industry professional sidekicks, has somehow discovered at least $400,000.00 in lunch money missing over about seven years.
Justice is served along with the pizza and Jello.
The lunch lady has plea bargained a deal with the school and the authorities. Least we have any more sad publicity.
Now I have no inside info as to the terms of the lunch lady deal so I will have to use my past experience to suggest NHInsder.com fans what is really going on.
The lunch lady scarfs $400 grand AT LEAST. You see in municipal financing much is lost in the shuffle to get the story put to bed asap. It costs money to audit an amount that large and the excuse is that the benefits out way the expense.
Let’s say this is a legitimate argument, as in the Town of Ashland in 2001 where the town clerk “misappropriated” at least $2.4 million. She pled guilty to taking $111,000.00 they could prove. After sentencing, the clerk stated she took at least $1 million.
Time served by the Ashland clerk out of the 24 month sentence - about 8 months. Not a bad trade.
The charter-operated Concord School District’s lunch lady was sentenced to 18 months in jail. I suspect she will be out in 6-8 months or less, as opposed to some NH guy in the news this week, David Burns of Kingston, who embezzled $1.6 million from his daughter’s trust fund – he is facing 20 years in a plea deal. (Real money?)
It is always like this with embezzled/stolen public money – light terms cut in half.
But shouldn’t it be just the opposite in the case of public officials? Because of the difficulty in catching a person stealing public funds - they often control the entire paper trail, sometimes only a small portion of the missing tax dollars are ever tracked down.
Remember the Litchfield Treasurer who was charged in March with pilfering about $6,000.00? Anyone taking bets it will be substantially more than that? It has been some time since the story broke. How long does it take to prosecute $6,000.00 after all?
The Concord School District Charter is, on the other hand, directly to blame for this missing money in the first place. The charter was drafted with the intent to keep the school system in Concord under the direct control a just a few individuals, not the voters or a budget committee, and this is what you get.
“Local Control” the Concord School District Charter is NOT.