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Wed Jul 31, 2013, 06:27 PM

New Orleans inspector general argues School Board must cough up financial records

The New Orleans inspector general reiterated Wednesday in court that the Orleans Parish School Board must produce a host of financial documents for an audit. Furthermore, the IG's office said, the School Board never authorized its attorney to fight the IG's June 25 subpoena for the records.

At issue is whether the inspector general may audit an entity with a history of corruption and one that lost most of its authority after Hurricane Katrina, when the state swept the city's low-performing schools into its own Recovery School District. The New Orleans Office of the Inspector General may audit agencies that are part of city government or that receive money through City Hall.

The School Board operates separately from City Hall and sets separate property tax rates. The city collects the taxes for the school system, but the School Board says the collector just passes the money on and has no control over it. The Inspector General's Office scoffed at that Wednesday, saying the School Board's "argument is that 'through' doesn't mean 'through.'"

The IG's filing also challenges the School Board's assertion that the inspector general is overstepping its bounds. A 2008 state law expanding the New Orleans office's authority was expressly meant "to provide for oversight of entities ... that received funds through the City of New Orleans as the tax collector for the parish," the filing states, quoting the law as saying its provisions should be "liberally construed."

More at http://www.nola.com/education/index.ssf/2013/07/new_orleans_inspector_general_1.html#incart_river_default .

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