College of the Desert took a step toward overhauling its management and reporting system on Jan. 18 following allegations that it over inflated enrollment numbers thus overcharging the state $5.2 million.
The college’s board of trustees approved a plan to have the Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team, or FCMAT, complete a management audit of college operations, COD officials announced this morning.
College President Joel Kinnamon presented the proposal during the Jan. 18 board of trustees meeting and will work with FCMAT - a state-funded agency that provides fiscal advice and management assistance especially for districts facing fiscal insolvency.
“When Dr. Kinnamon was hired, one of the early directions given by the Board was for him to conduct a proactive and comprehensive internal analysis of the college organizational structure and operations,” stated Board Chair, Michael O’Neill. “The FCMAT report is one component of the internal analysis being conducted by Dr. Kinnamon.”
College of the Desert is stinging from charges of fraudulent activity leveled against them by the state. According to the California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice Harris, “the Chancellor’s Office has determined that Desert CCD improperly and knowingly claimed excess state apportionment funding between 2003-04 and 2009-10 and that this matter should be turned over to the district attorney and the state controller for possible prosecution.”
Harris released his findings in a statement in November. The chancellor also found that during this seven year period, the Desert Community College District used “catalog hours” -- or time scheduled for a course -- rather than "the legally required student contact hours" -- or actual time spent in class by a student -- to gain state funds.
A state-ordered "extraordinary audit" found the misreporting led to an overpayment of $5,261,544, which the college must repay.
FCMAT ream members were expected to arrive on campus on Feb. 6. They will be asked to analyze the current management system and work with Kinnamon to come up with a better organizational structure that will protect against “material weaknesses or errors,” according to today’s announcement.
When completed, Kinnamon will present the team’s findings to the board, school officials said.
The Board of Trustees will be kept throughout the process. Officials anticipated the final report would be presented to the Board at the March meeting.