Three school districts in Mississippi could save taxpayers millions annually, according to three new performance audits released by State Auditor Shad White’s office. This project was conducted by data analytics firm GlimpseK12 and was funded by the Mississippi Office of the State Auditor.
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.
“As a product of our public schools and the son and grandson of public school teachers, I think it’s important to know when our schools are using money wisely and when they are not,” State Auditor White said. “As State Auditor, I know the taxpayers deserve information about where our schools can spend more efficiently.”
Analysis 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 the 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.
The superintendents’ salaries in the three analyzed school districts range between $115,000 and $150,000.
“Aside from saving money, our audit showed that some software the districts purchased was highly effective at boosting student learning, but not many teachers were actually using it. If the districts begin using this software, they could improve student learning,” said Auditor White.
In 2021, the State Auditor’s office partnered with three other school districts and had similar analyses performed. Those results showed up to $200 million could be saved by school districts statewide. Previous reports from the State Auditor’s office showed ballooning outside-the-classroom spending, a comparison of education spending in other states, and priority given to administrative pay raises.
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