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Accept responsibility

Dear Editor,
Here is a presentation I recently made that I felt your readers would be interested in. It is regarding Rainy River District School Board’s financial policies and procedures prior to and subsequent to the incident reported at the Fort Frances High School.
I am speaking on behalf of those here tonight and for all the signatures presented to you, the Trustees of the Rainy River District School Board. We are here tonight as a result of the article published in the Fort Frances Times and Rainy Lake Herald Ltd., January 23, 2008.
Together with the fact that this Board has not publically responded or reacted to any information regarding missing funds at Fort High; nor provided the public with any assurances that matters would be properly addressed. This lack of response by the Board has led to much speculation and suspicion which leads us to question the credibility of this Board and it’s responsibility for a forty million dollar annual budget and the planning and development of a new school.
Prior to this evening, I sought out the Chair of this Board to learn more about this incident. I was told that it had all been dealt with “in-camera” by the Board and therefore he could not discuss anything regarding this incident, with me.
I also had the pleasure of receiving a joint phone call from the Director of Education and Chair of the Board, in response to my request to get on the Board’s Meeting Agenda. I had little opportunity to ask any questions and was told by both that this matter had been dealt with by the Board in-camera and that it was a closed issue.
I have also spoken to four other Trustees regarding the information in this newspaper article. Three of the four Trustees stated that they would not discuss this issue: a) because of the court case, a naïve statement as this discussion does not effect nor would it impact the case, and b) that it had been dealt with in-camera by the Board and therefore could not discuss this issue and that their Chair was the spokesperson for them. These discussions made me question whether or not the Board had even considered this issue, which brings us to why we are here tonight. We are requesting that the Rainy River District School Board through it’s Chair, not the Director of Education, publically respond to the following questions in all of our District newspapers on or before November 14, 2008.
Our questions are as follows:
What policies were in place to direct the schools’ administrators on the maintenance of school generated fund accounts, specifically, procedures relating to the issuance of cheques and monthly summaries of the account, prior to revisions made January 2008?
What procedures were in place from March 2004 to October 2007 for management to oversee and ensure that the policies for the administrators of school generated funds were consistently applied?
The missing funds reportedly occurred over a three year period. How did this happen over such a period of time without detection?
I did receive a package on October 27, 2008 from the Director regarding actions and procedures taken by senior administration. Although I could not determine what was new policy from existing policy. However, it does appear that significant attention was focused on dealing with revenues to the school generated account.
I did not see a policy or protocol regarding; the procedure for a school’s administration or Board’s management to properly report a possible theft or fraud with regard to maintaining the integrity of the evidence and potential witnesses; nor a procedure for the authorization and proper use of a signature stamp by a school’s administration or Board’s management. Have these two items been addressed by the Board?
Why, to date, has this Board not accepted their responsibility to be transparent, accessible and accountable to it’s constituents and publically respond and react to the information or events revealed in this newspaper article?
Thank you.

David Kircher