It Takes a Thief

By Charles K. Trainor

George Carlin, stand-up comedian and social critic, began his career as a mainstream comic in the 1960s. His popularity increased when he became a regular guest and substitute host on “The Tonight Show” with Jack Paar and Johnny Carson. Later, he received the prestigious Mark Twain award for American Humor.

In 1981, he released an album called “A Place for My Stuff.” One monologue describes how important possessions are to most people. While Carlin’s comedic style may be controversial, this routine highlights the measures we take to protect our stuff. He suggests, however, that some individuals consider safeguarding other people’s stuff to be somewhat less important.

School board members are charged with protecting taxpayers’ stuff. Every year, school districts spend hundreds of millions of dollars on equipment and supplies. In addition to textbooks and classroom supplies, districts buy vehicles, appliances, athletic equipment, fuel, maintenance equipment, cleaning supplies, and much more.

These purchases represent a community’s investment in the district’s future. Therefore, it is essential that the board provide oversight of how administrators track these materials. You will want to understand the risks involved as well as the controls that are in place. 

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