Sunday, June 04, 2006

Coming Soon: School Audits

Last year Washington voters passed I-900, which set aside part of the sales tax money for the state auditor's office to run performance audits of all state agencies. School's are going to be one of the first areas looked at, since we're half of the state budget. From the Washington State School Director's Association:
Initiative 900, approved by voters last November, requires independent performance audits of state and local government entities, including school districts. The law requires the State Auditor to analyze the "economy, efficiency and effectiveness" of government entities with the goal of improving operations and reducing costs.

Sonntag said the ESDs were selected for the first K-12 performance audits because of the importance of their role in supporting school districts and because "audit history reveals an inconsistent pattern of the types and depth of services provided to districts."

According to Sonntag, the goal of the ESD audit is to determine whether the current structure "is effectively and efficiently meeting the needs of students of school districts" and whether it is "serving the purpose for which the Legislature initially intended."

The performance audit will take place in the state’s nine ESDs and at least 12 school districts. The review will examine areas such as organizational structure, leadership and management of human resources, operating costs (including salaries, travel and fringe benefits), and current mission, strategic goals and performance management plans. Auditors will also be comparing and evaluating the cost and quality of services provided by the ESDs to the school districts.

The ESDs are our regional offices; there are nine of them around the state that provide guidance to school districts. More information about the audits can be found through this website that State Auditor Brian Sonntag has set up. From the report that they've published there:
Looking beyond the near term, we expect to perform a comprehensive audit of the K-12 education system from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to individual school districts and ultimately to classrooms. We anticipate selecting a large sample of individual school districts for this audit, which will be conducted over the next two years.

This could turn into one of those big deal stories, depending on what they identify as wasteful spending. I'll be extremely curious to see what they say about the ESDs in their first report, due in December--if they come down hard on them, you'll see a lot of school districts start sweating bullets.

2 Comments:

Blogger NYC Educator said...

I'm wondering when the federal government is gonna get audited. They throw away money like there's no tomorrow, and sometimes convince me that they don't plan one.

This, though, could be another in the seemingly endless series of attempts to blame teachers for all inequity on heaven and earth.

12:24 PM  
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5:02 AM  

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