Friday, December 14, 2012

Dallas ISD Superintendent Mike Miles addresses early release of internal audit


A draft audit report was prematurely released to The Dallas Morning News.  We have submitted a response to the auditor.  I know that people want to see the administration’s response to the audit as soon as possible.  I also understand that in many respects the community “has seen this movie before” and therefore may be predisposed to believe the released report.  After the past six months of countless meetings with community groups and individual stakeholders, I am starting to understand the past history of Dallas ISD.

My team and I are eager for you to read the response, but that will have to wait until after the audit committee meets to discuss it.  I will say that our response to the report shows that my senior leadership team and I abided by all laws, policies, and ethical practices But beyond the technical points, the report will show that my team and I acted with a sense of urgency and changed some past practices to get things done.  These changes in processes were permissible under law, policies, and the authority given to me by the Board in my contract.

That does not mean that my team and I haven’t made any mistakes.  If I had to do it over again, I would have slowed down to allow people in the system a chance to implement changes more effectively.   This past summer was a unique time when my team and I worked quickly to hire six Cabinet members, five Assistant Superintendents, and 21 Executive Directors.

The erroneous claims made in the draft audit report also do not mean that the departments do not have processes that need improving.  You may recall that the senior leadership team and I conducted our own “audit” of the District and identified 32 system problems that we are going to be working on.  You may also recall the thorough review conducted by the Star Commission, which focused on personnel processes and was chaired by Garrett Boone, founder of the Container Store.  The Commission identified numerous processes that my administration has to address.

You know, people told me that his job was going to be tough and brutal.  They were right.  But it is not nearly as tough and brutal as the life of a child who receives a poor education.  So I have assembled a team, whose common attribute is that they want to change the world for kids and they have the courage to stand fast when the chips are down.  Every day in this District you have people stepping up to help kids, including senior management.  They are focused on the real work.  It is unfortunate that the preliminary, misleading and inaccurate findings of the audit, have shined a questionable light on the reputation and integrity of the talented staff I have hired with the competency and skills to lead Dallas ISD to success.

I understand that there will be and should be questions about how the work is getting done.  You should know that your team is going to continue to work with a sense of urgency.  They are moving the ball down the field and will continue to do what is in the best interest of students and staff.

Mike Miles