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Schools Budget Request Turned in Late, Official Placed on Leave

Schools Budget Request Turned in Late, Official Placed on Leave



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A top education official has been placed on paid administrative leave after failing to deliver budget requests to the governor's office on time, State Superintendent Patti Harrington said.

Harrington placed Patrick Ogden, associate superintendent of business services, on paid administrative leave Thursday. Her office will investigate why budget requests were a month late.

"I don't believe there's any malfeasance involved, but there's been some foot dragging," Harrington said. "It's been a chronic problem."

Ogden could not be reached for comment.

Harrington said her office turned in incomplete budget requests Thursday.

The governor uses those requests when making his budget recommendations to the Legislature.

The Education Office's lateness this year has slowed that process, said Gov. Jon Huntsman's spokeswoman, Lisa Roskelley.

"That's roughly 40-plus percent of the budget," Roskelley said of education. "To not have that piece makes it difficult to compile the rest of the budget."

Roskelley said the Office of Education has turned in budget requests late in past years, but not this late.

Rep. Greg Hughes, R-Draper, said he is glad the state office is taking action to correct the problem.

"It's a concern to me," said Hughes, co-chairman of the Legislative Interim Education Committee. "I know education is a Herculean task in the state of Utah with the amount of children we have, and we need to get it right."

He said legislators trust staff to make sure everything runs smoothly.

"As part-time legislators, we don't have as much time to spend looking into the public education system as we'd like, but we like to make sure it's being done right for taxpayers and their families."

Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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