School District Citizen’s Audit Committee Gets Results

Dr. Armand Fusco:

On June 30 and July 1st an historic educational event took place in Enfield, CT (school population of 6500) where a joint meeting of the Board of Education and Town Council convened to hear four reports from a citizen’s audit committee composed of 17 members that was authorized by the Board of Education in January 2008.
It was the determined effort of one board member, Sue Lavelli-Hozempa, who was responsible for getting the audit committee authorized.She learned about the audit committee approach from one of my presentations that she attended on school finance and budgeting that I conduct throughout Connecticut.
It’s historic for four reasons.First, it is probably the first time an audit committee proved that ordinary citizens who were selected without any required qualifications could, with training, education and direction, be a tremendous community and board asset in providing effective and meaningful fiscal oversight of school spending.
But it went beyond what is typically done with typical financial audits; instead, it was also designed to begin a Performance Review Audit (PRA) process.The PRA is “an examination of a program, function, operation or management systems and procedures to assess whether the district is achieving economy, efficiency and effectiveness in the employment of available resources.”This is really what taxpayers want to know and certainly it should be what every school board member would want to know and what every administrator should be doing:determining how money is actually spent and whether waste and mismanagement exists in school operations, practices, procedures and policie–something a fiscal audit does not do.

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