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Dallas School District Fires A Top Auditor

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Bill Zeeble
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KERA News
Another Dallas Schools internal investigator was fired Thursday. Don Smith helped investigate the E-rate problem, worked to uncover a purchasing scandal in the technology department, and was reportedly looking into another tech contract when he was fired.

A top auditor with the Dallas school district was fired Thursday morning. The Dallas Morning News reports Don Smith was dismissed by his boss. Some board members reacted differently about the sudden dismissal.

Don Smith was fired by his boss Mike Singleton, the district’s chief internal auditor. Singleton told The News there was going to be a change in leadership.

Trustee Lew Blackburn is on the board’s audit committee that Singleton reports to. Blackburn says the firing was news to him.

“Now at the last audit committee meeting, there was no talk of any changes at the internal audit department. And that was the first meeting of the year and we knew of no new direction,” Blackburn said.

Another trustee, Mike Morath, said Thursday’s dismissal was in line with the board’s direction of the internal audit division.

Don Smith used to work for the IRS. A former Dallas superintendent, Michael Hinojosa, hired him. While at DISD, Smith helped investigate the e-rate problems that prevented the district from tapping discounted federal funds schools can use to pay for internet access. Smith worked to fix the problem.

One of his internal investigations led to a broader, independent investigation of Mike Miles, the current superintendent.

DISD spokesperson Andre Riley said in a statement that the district appreciates Smith’s service over the years.

Last month, Jeremy Liebbe, who investigated personnel problems, was also dismissed by the district. Liebbe's investigation helped prompt Mike Miles to fire more than a dozen DISD employees involved in an athletics scandal.

Trustee Blackburn still has more questions for Singleton about Thursday’s dismissal of Don Smith, and wants any investigations Smith started to continue.

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