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Kentucky Auditor Adam Edelen’s recent audit of Jefferson County Public Schools contends that JCPS’s seven-member board isn't big enough, and that its members lack the expertise needed to deal with complex issues such as the system’s nearly $1.3 billion annual budget.
Edelen's observation is right on the money. One look at the actual 2015 budget just passed by the board reveals 81 pages of charts, graphs and tables that would challenge the expertise of most professional accountants. Yet the only member of the JCPS board with a deep background in business and the budgeting skills that go with it -- David Jones Jr. -- was one of the two board members who voted against passing the budget, insisting he didn't have the necessary information to properly assess it.
If he couldn't make sense of the budget as presented, how can we believe his colleagues were doing anything more than "rubber stamping" its approval?
The audit suggested a change in state law that would allow JCPS to add two "at large" seats on its board, to be reserved for members with credentials in areas like accounting or finance, and I think that's a great idea. JCPS may be a non-profit entity, but it still needs professional financial expertise in decision-making positions. Edelen's suggestion would be a great way of acquiring it.