SEPTEMBER 01, 2006
Plagued by fraud and waste scandals, a large public school district in Texas has created a new Office of District Integrity in an effort to root out future wrongdoing by public officials.
The superintendent of the Dallas Independent School District, the second-largest in Texas, created the new department after a series of embarrassing federal investigations that included improper relationships between a computer vendor and former administrator, excessive car allowances, outsourcing contracts that cost more than originally quoted and improper use of district-issued credit cards by numerous employees.
The ongoing allegations prompted the FBI to launch a public corruption investigation last year and the district to hire a former United States Attorney to investigate the millions of dollars of improper credit card purchases by teachers, principals and district staffers.
Dallas school Superintendent Michael Hinojosa assures that the new department will root out, not only fraud and waste of taxpayer dollars but also academic cheating. He says this aggressive plan will restore the public’s trust in the public school system. Already, a 24-hour toll-free fraud hotline and web site have been created for whistleblowers to file complaints or report abuse. Both promise anonymity.
Additionally, the district has created an internal affairs type task force that is looking out for weaknesses in the system and potential fraud since the past ones were quite evident. The hotline number is 1-800-530-1608 and the new integrity page is here.
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