State Rep.Terry Canales announced Tuesday he was calling for a comprehensive and multi-agency audit of the IDEA Public Schools after reports earlier this year of luxury purchases made by the district.
A statement from Canales’ office said the representative had written to TEA Commissioner Mike Morath and Texas First Assistant State Auditor Lisa Collier requesting the audit, citing expenditures on the part of the district like leasing of a private jet solely for the use of top IDEA officials and their families, chauffeured limousines, running advertisements during the Super Bowl and World Series, and travel expenses of over $14 million.
“As public servants, the State has an obligation to ensure that taxpayer dollars are used for their intended purposes, and the recent disclosures of the expenditures at IDEA are alarming — to say the least,” Canales wrote in the release. “Texas must ensure that our tax dollars are not being used for purchases like private jets and Super Bowl advertisements. I believe IDEA’s recent actions have raised clear and pressing concerns surrounding IDEA’s financial decisions. Other contracts, state agencies, and even universities that receive far fewer state dollars than IDEA receive more state oversight. So, given IDEA’s questionable expenditures, a financial audit of IDEA only makes sense.”
According to the statement, IDEA receives approximately half-a-billion dollars a year from the state to educate students and has plans to almost double its enrollment to 97,000 students and add 27 new campuses by the end of 2021.
Canales called for more oversight in the release, stressing that his requests are being directed at the higher echelons of the organization’s leadership.
“Let me be clear, I do not believe any of our neighborhood schools are at issue here. I salute the hardworking teachers and students of IDEA, and I wholeheartedly support the work that they are doing. I believe this issue is solely at the executive level of the school district,” he wrote.