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DISD Board Accepts Milder Audit Of Superintendent's Controversial Hires

Bill Zeeble

The Dallas School Board has adopted the final internal audit report that found nothing illegal in controversial reimbursements and hires made at the behest of the superintendent. Mike Miles says he will do better.  Teachers are not pleased.                                       

The 8 to 1 vote was no surprise. Only Trustee Carla Ranger voted against accepting the report. She accused Superintendent Miles of breaking district rules and illegally hiring cabinet members last summer before he officially became superintendent. But the Dallas school district's  attorney said Miles followed the rules, and board President Lew Blackburn said the same to Ranger.

“Everybody on the board then knew that we wanted Mike Miles to begin assembling his team so that by July 1 they would be ready to go. Everyone on the board then knew that. You were in the discussions."

The final audit found several problems, from contracts unfulfilled, to phony reimbursement receipts from a fabricated moving company. But as Miles has repeatedly said, his administration followed all board policies.  

“No laws were broken and certain practices where we can improve, we can improve. And let’s be clear about that. You have an auditor who’s saying that, and you have lawyers saying that, and you have me saying that.”

Miles also apologized for acting hastily when he first came on board, and for referring to LaNita Ray’s internal audit as a "witch hunt."

" I apologize for any other of the statements that you talked about, but also any other impressions you’re not appreciated."

Miles said the district will create moving and reimbursement policies by the spring, because there aren’t any now. Trustee Nancy Bingham was satisfied.

“The bottom line on all of this - there is no money missing, nothing illegal was done, and nothing unethical was done. We just need to move on and get past this.”

Teachers may not be so forgiving.  Rena Honea, who leads the district’s largest teacher group, was disappointed trustees were not tougher on Miles.

“Any individual that was an employee of this district would have been held to higher standards. This leaves some questions of trust from the highest leader of this organization.”

Honea said teachers who violate policies can be fired. She asked why Miles was being held to a different standard than other DISD employee.

Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues.