Meeting N.Onimous's Requests

OTBL keeps making requests of the ATBL Cartoon Network , and we keep

OTBL blooger resently made the following cartoon request:
" maybe a picture of his wife [the teacher] with a rolling pin bashing Bob
over the head and yelling, "Anti-education creep!"

Well, we tried, but Bob's wife [ the teacher, an excellent one, I might add ] is against violence (and besides, she's camera shy). So we did the next best thing. We asked Luke's wife to
stand in and she did so most graciously.


Anonymous said...

Shit, shit, shit- That's all that Bob Muchlinski wants to talk about. He's worried about shit at the end of the dike. He's worried about shit at the new school. He even had a website devoted to SHIT! Is there something you want to tell us Bob?

FFN said...

Hey, I think I saw Luke's wife wrestling last night on Smackdown. And she wasn't Ashley featured in the April Playboy.

Kowboy Kritic said...

If my wife looked like Luke's I'd send her to work just so I wouldn't have to look at her. UGH!

Louisville Slugger said...

You'd think Luke's wife would use that clug where it would do some good..... On Luke's noggin.

FFN said...

Yea, she could hit him in the ass. She couldn't miss, since he's a total ass.

Anonymous said...

Ongoing news reports from across the country indicate incidents of corruption and mismanagement in the public schools occur frequently, often on a massive scale. Ignoring the scale of the problem not only costs taxpayers millions of dollars but also hinders school reform efforts, according to New York University law professor Lydia G. Segal.

In her recent book, Battling Corruption in America's Public Schools (Northwestern University Press, 2003), Segal argues, "one impediment to reform that no one is seriously studying in the debate over how to improve public schools is systematic fraud, waste, and abuse." Her careful documentation of the pervasive corruption and waste in the nation's three largest school districts--New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles--leaves little doubt the problem merits serious study.

However, fraud, waste, and abuse are not limited to large urban school districts, as the following recent examples demonstrate.

$8 Million in Undocumented Expenses

In New York's affluent Roslyn School District on Long Island, former school superintendent Frank A. Tassone and senior administrator Pamela C. Gluckin were each charged recently with stealing more than $1 million from the district. Gluckin allegedly used the funds to finance four homes, a Lexus, and other luxury items. Tassone allegedly used his $1 million for airline travel, cruises, dermatology treatments, furniture, and jewelry, and to give his roommate's company more than $800,000 in no-bid contracts. Both Tassone and Gluckin pleaded not guilty.

The Roslyn school board is still reviewing more than $8 million in undocumented expenses. According to the New York Times, those expenses include:

$736,000 paid to an Oklahoma publishing company that has no record of doing business with the district;
$600,000+ spent in delicatessens and specialty food stores;
$100,000+ spent on limousines and car services;
$50,000 paid to restaurants;
$21,000 charged for a BMW lease or purchase;
$3,800 spent to reserve space with Manhattan Mini-Storage, a long way from Roslyn;
$1,485 spent for an Equinox gym membership.
Gluckin previously worked for Long Island's William Floyd District under former treasurer James Wright, according to Suffolk Life. In June, Wright was charged with stealing more than $750,000 from the William Floyd District simply by writing checks to himself.

$15.9 Million in Kickbacks

In Fort Worth, Texas, a school construction scandal ended in June with the former executive director of maintenance for the Fort Worth School District, Tommy Ingram, and contractor Ray Brooks being sentenced to eight years in prison each for a kickback scheme in which they defrauded the school district of an estimated $15.9 million.

Payroll Scam

In July, eight employees of the New Orleans school system pleaded guilty to stealing more than $70,000 in a scheme in which payroll clerk Louis Serrano wrote fraudulent checks to seven other employees in exchange for half of the face value of the checks. A ninth employee, payroll clerk Terri Smith Morant, admitted stealing $250,000 by printing checks to herself using her maiden name.

According to a recent report by the state legislative auditor of Louisiana, school system employees have cashed an estimated $3 million in paychecks that administrators sent out either in error or with criminal intent.

Fighting corruption in the school system is like "eating an elephant," New Orleans Police Superintendent Eddie Compass told The Times-Picayune. "We just took the first bite."


In addition to losses from outright fraud, taxpayers also have lost millions due to mismanagement and incompetence.

For instance, in a June 2004 audit of California's Oakland Unified School District, state auditors could not determine if in 2002-03 the district had appropriately spent millions of dollars and properly complied with scores of state and federal mandates. As a result, the district could be forced to repay $163 million to the state and federal governments. In addition, district bonds worth $322 million are in jeopardy of losing their tax-exempt status because the funds have been inappropriately spent on general education rather than on specific projects.

According to the audit's findings, the district's shortcomings included:

Failing to hold competitive bidding for $18.4 million in contracts;
Inappropriately using $650,000 in bond funds to pay a lawsuit settlement;
Issuing payroll checks to employees when they no longer worked for the district;
Failing to maintain attendance records at some schools and overreporting attendance at others;
Inappropriately carrying over unused funds for federal projects from one year to the next.
Also in June in southern California, the Los Angeles School Board continued the saga of the most expensive high school ever built by voting to do further work on the Belmont Learning Complex. When completed, Belmont will have cost about $270 million--$175 million of which has already been spent to produce a school that currently is unusable.

In June in south Florida, auditors delivered 650 pages of backup documents to support the findings of an April 2004 forensic audit that charged the Miami-Dade school district with wasting more than $100 million in its school facilities program. The audit alleged there was massive disorganization and waste in the program as well as "probable malfeasance, misfeasance, and potential for fraud."

Exploiting a Loophole

Unethical behavior and taxpayer abuse by school employees is not always illegal. In June, thousands of teachers in Texas rushed to retire before a lucrative loophole in Social Security law closed. Although most Texas teachers participate in a state pension fund rather than paying into Social Security, the loophole allowed them to receive Social Security benefits if their last day of work before retirement was in a job covered by Social Security.

In 2002, one-fourth of all public school retirees in Texas--3,521 people--took advantage of the loophole, according to auditors. Congress moved to close the loophole in spring 2004 when auditors estimated leaving it open could cost the Social Security system $450 million.

School districts around the state helped retiring teachers meet the one-day requirement by hiring them to work janitorial or maintenance jobs on their last day of work. Teachers paid the districts a small fee for this privilege, generating substantial revenues for some districts. For example, the Lindale Independent School District made about $700,000 helping teachers beat the deadline, according to assistant superintendent for business Mike McSwain.

"We just couldn't look at our taxpayers and say we passed up this opportunity to get this kind of revenue into the district," McSwain told the Associated Press.

Anonymous said...

A new study by the Cato Institute takes an in-depth look at allegations of corruption and abuse of assets in the nation's public schools, a system built upon the expectation of public accountability. The proper response to such mismanagement, the study's author says, may be found in providing parents with the opportunity to choose the schools that best meet their children's needs.

In Corruption in the Public Schools: The Market Is the Answer, published April 20, author Neal McCluskey (a contributing editor for School Reform News) tackled an issue that affects every American in one way or another: public school systems' efficiency and accountability.

It isn't that the government isn't interested in ferreting out corruption in the education system, McCluskey concludes--it's that the system itself has become so encumbered with rules and regulations that it is more difficult for teachers to educate kids, and much easier for criminals to get away with exploiting loopholes for their own financial gain.

"Regulations governing almost everything a school can do have failed to stop fraud, waste, and abuse but have rendered school districts cripplingly inefficient," he writes.

Disturbing Examples

Though McCluskey was careful to point out the corruption isn't universal, it is widespread. He examined hundreds of fraud allegations in his report, ranging from Floridians who misused scholarship money and school vouchers, to New Yorkers hiring at least 25 special-education bus drivers with criminal records, to a Maryland high school giving two A's and an NC (for noncredit) to a student who wasn't even enrolled there. Other reports included school officials embezzling money to buy cars and vacations.

Although per-student spending by public schools has nearly tripled in the past 40 years, students' test scores have continued to decline. While McCluskey admits many factors contributed to that trend, he says the bottom line is that public education is failing students, parents, and teachers alike. In reality, he says, public accountability is largely a myth.

"Public accountability requires that formal rules and regulations be instituted to make sure the people who run and work in the schools know what they can and cannot do and in addition, some sort of apparatus has to be erected to do the watching and enforce the rules and regulations," he explains. "And it's not like the rules and regulations remain static; people will always look for loopholes to commit malfeasance if they are so inclined, or to make their jobs easier.

"When people exploit those loopholes, it precipitates the creation of more rules and regulations to cover what the first rules and regulations missed, typically through standardization of procedures and systems. More bureaucrats are then needed to monitor the rules and execute school district functions," he continues. "Eventually, the maze of rules and regulations becomes so complicated that it's easy for those who'd do wrong to hide in it, while those who simply want to teach have to struggle mightily to get anything done."

Competition for All

The answer to that structural problem, McCluskey says, is found in models used by successful schools: choice.

When parents and students have choices, he notes, schools must prove themselves in order to maintain enrollments. Though private schools are not free of corruption, choice creates a built-in mechanism for weeding it out. It's called, "I'm taking my business elsewhere," McCluskey notes.

By definition, any school that must attract and keep a student body must make sure it is an effective instrument of education, McCluskey points out, or it will simply shrivel up and fade away, making way for other institutions that can rise to the occasion. School choice makes that happen.

"Choice would provide better accountability because parents would be able to exercise the ultimate sanction: They could pull their kids out of a school that's been ripping them off or doing a poor job of educating their children," McCluskey writes. "Not only would that provide swift justice, it would eliminate the need for cumbersome rules, regulations, and bureaucracies that keep our schools--especially our worst schools--from being able to change."

Ayn Randers said...

The CATO institute doesn't do research....They do Proaganda!!!!