Wednesday, September 23, 2015

State Auditor shows how to increase classroom funding without spending more money.

State Auditor Stacey Pickering issued the following press release:

State Auditor Releases Contractual and Shared Services in K-12 Public School Districts Report

Jackson, Miss – The Office of the State Auditor has released its report on the contractual and shared services within Mississippi’s K-12 public school districts today. The focus of this report is to answer the question of efficiency related to contracts and shared services in K-12 public schools.

The results show that, without question, shared services are far more efficient than contracts (not including teachers) in putting money into classrooms. To break this down even more simply, our analysis shows that the use of shared services would save up to $739 per student/per year. This is a total of more than $116 million that could be invested into classrooms across the state.

Additionally, the report shows that contracts alarmingly result in money being taken out of the classroom in the form of additional spending. The use of contracts vs shared services costs $639 extra per student/per year. Eliminating these inefficient contracts could save the state’s public K-12 system up to $107 million per year, which, like increased shared services, can put more money back into the classroom.

Finally, the Office of the State Auditor makes the following recommendations in the report:

·Centralized system for purchasing commodities and resources in the K-12 system

·MDE should consider re-establishing the role of Purchasing Officer to aid in better procurement efficiency for K-12 districts;

*MDE and RESAs should find a way to enhance their ability to assist school districts in better buying techniques and opportunities;

·Districts should competitively bid contracts and rarely, if ever, use sole source vendors;

·K-12 school contracts should have deliverables as well as penalties and claw back features for non-compliance and non-performance;

·The legislature should consider mandating contract transparency in the K-12 school system, just as State Agencies, Universities, and Community Colleges are required to do, by requiring school districts to participate in an online, publicly accessible system.

Please see the full report and cover letter attached to this email.


Anonymous said...

This should be instituted from kindergarten through community/junior colleges. There's so much waste by community colleges buying locally using cronies with inflated prices.
This is such a good idea that I know Stacey didn't come up with it. Not a deep thinker.

Anonymous said...

Is there a counter argument to this?

Absolutely our State Education system should look for purchasing efficiencies and creative ways to share services to save cost.

This should be a standard for any business--and State.

The only thing that stinks a little bit about this report is that it strikes me as slightly political in the light of the 42 initiative. Is this in light of the Chris Epps / UMMC contracting issues or is there some other motive for this report?

Anonymous said...

Yep, this is Cost Efficiency 101 stuff. Any business, organization or government with any sophistication and sanity centralizes purchasing to leverage buying power. The only reason this isn't in place is cronyism. The local school districts are handing out favors to contractors and vendors with little regard to best price. But make no mistake: there are probably plenty of legislators who are using this to their advantage as well. Even if there is no direct benefit accruing to the legislators, the school superintendents and other school admins in their districts will lobby to keep the status quo. There is no way Pickering's recommendations get implemented without a fight at the Capitol. There is too much money at stake.

Anonymous said...

Who audits the state auditor and when was the last time he was audited? How is the state auditor held accountable to the taxpayers? Are we supposed to simply trust him because he is the state auditor?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Pickering's office is suggesting that the schools be added to MS Transparency so that the public will have access to their spending records. I find it interesting that Mr. Pickering's Office of the State Auditor spent $10.5 million last year. Of that he chose to hide $9.5 million by not giving a vendor name or any other information on MS Transparency.

Miss Crump said...

What a waste of keyboard strokes. The only kind of 'cost efficiency' we need in our education system is combining school districts to eliminate about 80% of them. Talk about 'shared services'! Do we really need four hundred people making the salary of superintendent, the same number of purchasing officers, twice that many assistant supts, eight times that many principals and sixty times that many official vehicles?

Anonymous said...

There's even a name for it. It's called " economies of scale".

The very first Junior College Board was given the definition. The IHL was given the definition. Legislators have been informed at least since the mid 1980's. It's the primary argument for consolidation but it can be achieved with co-operation.

Some other states take advantage of buying in quantity. Federal elected officials know about it and the drug companies lobby against it so we pay the highest drugs costs of any Nation.

What you get is " local autonomy" and " states rights" arguments. You get those, not because they apply, but because those who profit from the failure to buy in quantity, also give money and provide perks to politicians and board members.

Most ironically, you get conservatives arguing against being fiscally conservative!

Pickering has to know there's no political chance in hell that he can make this happen. So, this is a way to defeat full funding and maintain the status quo.

And, here is another dirty little secret...with privatization , like with our prisons, the private company initially takes advantage of economies of scale to make it appear cheaper, but just like with prisons, the cost escalate rapidity when they decide to keep the profits.

The devil is in the details when it comes to fiscal responsibility but those who are elected are either too dumb or too self-interested to bother to " get it" and those who profit will continue to count on the public's eyes glazing over when economics is the topic.

It's math and we are, and will remain a math challenged country when everything is about profit.

Anonymous said...



Yes, it's math. We are not a math challenged country. Profit is about doing the math and the whole point to anything is "profit."

The lack of profit motive IS the reason why there is no fiscal responsibility. If all you have to do is ask for more money and just tax people more, there is no motive to change the system.

Just as profit is a motive, then the lack of profit is also a motive. So, you limit the monies and FORCE fiscal responsibility and cutting the fat. Using your argument, the public education system should amalgamate more than it already has and water down better institutions to make those that suck appear better.

No, simply stating that education is top heavy in administration is all that needs to be said. Whether consolidation under one state educational system, a consortium of counties, etc won't work as long as people are under the spell of the notion that just throwing more money is the answer

bill said...

Consolidation is not going to happen until the people who make the consolidation decision aren't worried about reelection, which means never. Why? Because the good districts don't want to have anything to do with the students they would receive from the bad districts. They like their districts just the way they are and will fight hard to keep them that way. That's why more school choice is necessary if we ever want to have hope that the better students in the bad districts will ever have a chance.

Anonymous said...

To 9:28 PM The State Auditor is audited ever couple of years by a national Peer Review Committee made up of auditors who uphold the national auditing standards. The latest audit of the State Auditor was just completed a couple of months ago.

More Lobster Please said...

12:47; You may have worked in private industry and if you have, you might have been associated with peer reviews of facilities. They're not unlike the failed experiment of 360 degree appraisals. None of these schemes is anything more than a 'you scratch mine' scenario, a chance to spend a week out of town, dining on steaks, sleeping under a really nice A/C unit in a room with multiple plug-ins and a padded ironing board behind a mirrored, sliding door.

And if you've ever worked where ISO standards were mandated, you're familiar with teams of 'auditors' who descend and spend days pouring over personnel files and work processes and employee attitudes.....all designed to grant passing grades while dining at the equivalent of Shapley's and Tico's.

Anonymous said...

bill...consolidation has nothing to do with doing away with districts. It has to do with reducing management at the top and purchasing in bulk so you can buy the best for the least amount of money. Please look how it works Texas.

And,8:19 am You're the idiot and the problem is you think everything is about profit. And, please join your uneducated buddy bill in learning how consolidation works elsewhere. After consolidation, the strong schools in Texas, North Carolina et. al. didn't get weaker, they got stronger.

And, you don't profit by wasting money , yahoo!

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