JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – According to new performance audits released by State Auditor Shad White’s office, three school districts in Mississippi could save taxpayers annually.
The three school districts, Greenwood Leflore Consolidated School District, Kemper County School District, and South Pike School District, were evaluated to determine how they could maximize the use of taxpayer money.
“The big picture goal here is to send a message across Mississippi that there are ways that every school district can save money. If they look at these school districts as an example of how to dig deep, how to look at those cost savings and apply those lessons to themselves, I think we can save hundreds of millions of dollars in public schools across the state of Mississippi and reorder that money back into the classroom so that it benefits teachers and students,” explained White.
According to the State Auditor’s office, the audit showed the following data and potential cost-saving measures for the three school districts:
- Expensive educational software purchased by the school districts should either be used or have the subscription suspended. Notably, much of the software in question is proven to be highly effective for the few students who do use it.
- Bus routes in school districts could be optimized to reduce operational costs.
- The districts could sell costly unused buildings or right-size maintenance staff to reduce maintenance costs.
- The districts should actually put the laptops and tablets they purchased into use.
- School districts could automate manual administrative functions to save time and money.
According to White, the superintendents’ salaries in the three analyzed school districts range between $115,000 and $150,000.
“In the State Auditor’s office, we’ve done a good bit of work the last two or three years trying to identify ways that school districts can save money specifically on administrative costs with the goal of getting that money into the classroom, ideally into teacher pay and other things that directly affect students that are in those public school districts,” stated White.
This project was conducted by data analytics firm GlimpseK12 and was funded by the Mississippi Office of the State Auditor.
Visit www.osa.ms.gov and click the ‘Reports’ tab to view the full version of this report.
State Senator Rod Hickman (D-District 32) released a statement after the auditor’s report was released.
He said in part, “This week, State Auditor Shad White released unsolicited and misguided “performance audits” of three majority black school districts in Mississippi―Kemper County School District, South Pike School District, and the Greenwood Leflore Consolidated School District. The reports were funded by the Mississippi Office of the State Auditor and conducted by GlimpseK12, a company whose website is void of details about its leadership and whose disclaimer includes that it ‘does not independently verify the data or information provided to them from the district or its programs.'”