Edelen to audit Jefferson Co. Public Schools in state's 'largest examination scope ever'

04/24/2013 01:04 PM

Auditor Adam Edelen will sift through the financial details and management of the $1 billion Jefferson County School District that serves 110,000 students.

The Kentucky Auditor of Public Accounts has never undertaken an examination of that scope before, Edelen said at a press conference Wednesday at the Jefferson County Board of Education.

Edelen announced his office will look to identify ways to improve management and spending practices at the state’s largest school district. He outlined its goals alongside Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens, Board Chairwoman Diane Porter and other board members.

“I come not to undermine not the confidence in our community of public education, but to strengthen it with a clear eyed assessment about our strengths and weaknesses. About the operation of this central office in supporting classroom excellence across the community,” Edelen said.

The Jefferson County Board of Education approved an appropriation request for the audit on Monday at Hargens’ recommendation. Edelen said the appropriation was good for up to $120,000 but that his office would likely incur additional expenses.

Hargens, who took over as superintendent of the district in 2011, said she welcomed the audit as a part of the process to improve Jefferson County schools, 18 of which have been put at risk of a takeover by the state Department of Education because they persistently under perform.

“We need to ensure that every dollar we spend can be linked to how it actually relates to increased student achievement,” Hargens said.

Edelen said the audit will review contracts and procurement, administration, expenses and travel and policies relating to internal auditing and ethics.

“It will attempt to determine how central office spending compares to similar school districts around the country. It will also identify those best practices to control or reduce non-instructional cost,” Edelen said.

The audit is expected to begin soon. Hargens will meet with Jefferson County principals to prepare them for documents the auditor’s office will need for the examination. Edelen said the audit would require a “herculean effort” to complete in 2013.


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