Monday, December 17, 2012

One step closer to comprehensive performance audit

The TPS Finance Committee approved a resolution recommending a contract with Evergreen Solutions, LLC for a performance audit of the district's operations.

The motion was made by board member Bob Vasquez and passed unanimously. The recommendation will be presented to the full board at their monthly meeting Tuesday (tomorrow) at 5:30 p.m. in the Board Room of the Thurgood Marshall Building, 420 E. Manhattan Blvd.

At their last finance committee meeting, the members heard presentations from three potential providers of a performance audit.

Board member Dr. Cecilia Adams opened this special meeting saying they wanted "to keep the momentum going" and move along toward a performance audit "in a timely manner." She stated that one provider seemed to offer all the items they were looking for in a PA.

She noted that the state auditor would not be able to start their PA until the spring and was hampered, somewhat, by staffing issues. They would have to outsource the instructional and IT portions of any audit, Dr. Adams said.

The Council of the Great City Schools, while providing valuable services to TPS, would take at least six months to complete any PA, she said.

Both would charge about the same amount but neither would be able to do all the things TPS was looking for in a PA.

Dr. Adams noted that Everygreen could - and she made a point of saying that Evergreen's presentation at the last meeting wasn't just a reaction to what the other two entities had already said; all of the items they touted were included in the sample audit they provided to the committee.

Dr. Adams told me after the meeting that she had checked references for Evergreen and all were positive.

Evergreen said they would be able to start a PA "right away," though they noted at during their original presentation that they didn't recommend starting before the end of the year due to the holidays. They were not present at today's meeting.

Dr. Adams also noted that she had been in communication with the other board members to apprise them of the progress the committee was making and she hoped to have their support at the regular board meeting.

Before making the motion to recommend Evergreen, Mr. Vasquez asked the staff and the audience if there was anything missing from the draft detailing areas to be covered. While there were comments about specific aspects of what would be included under the categories, there were no changes to the draft as presented.

Here is the resolution and Exhibit A listing the areas to be included in the PA. If there are items you believe are not covered under the draft, please contact the board members ( and so they can be sure the PA is comprehensive and encompasses all areas of concern.

As a side note, I continue to be encouraged by the actions of the Finance Committee. In the recommendation, they direct that the PA contract should include (emphasis added):

(f) such other terms and conditions, including other major areas of study, as are found to be in the best interest of the District following further consultation with interested stakeholders, including staff, union leadership, interested community members, and as approved by the Superintendent, Treasurer, Board President and District General Counsel.

They want input from the public so be sure to take advantage of their active solicitation of your participation.

If you support their going forward with a comprehensive performance audit, let them know. Too often, elected officials only hear from us when we don't like what they're doing. You must also tell them when they're on the right track.

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