Auditor partners with advanced analytics team and school district to identify most effective ways to spend public education money
The Hinds County School District (HCSD) could implement improvements and cut outside-the-classroom spending to save up to $3.7 million annually, according to a report released this week by State Auditor Shad White. The school district has partnered with the State Auditor’s office to analyze expenditure data and identify ineffective spending.
“Hinds County Superintendent Martin personally volunteered the Hinds County School District for this project,” said Auditor White. “I’m grateful for her leadership and the chance to help the district find ways to put more money in the classroom and toward teacher’s salaries.”
The Mississippi Office of the State Auditor also partnered with the advanced data analytics firm GlimpseK12 for this performance audit.
GlimpseK12 used data provided by the district to compare HCSD expenditures to other school districts from across the region and country. Highlights from the report include:
- Data showed certain education software programs are underutilized by students and teachers. Underutilized software licenses cost the district nearly $100,000 each year.
- The district recently reduced the number of schools operating in the district, and this led to savings for the district’s transportation services. However, data shows HCSD could optimize its transportation system to realize over $800,000 of additional savings each year.
- The report shows the district’s maintenance cost per square foot is significantly higher than similar school districts across the region and nation. By bringing these costs in line with similar schools in the Southeast, the district could save nearly $1 million each year.
- Within HCSD, most purchases are made by individual schools or district departments. While some of these purchases are made by taking competitive bids, the district does not have any standard bidding template. GimpseK12 recommends consolidating purchasing into a district-wide function, which could lead to a 20% reduction in the cost of commonly purchased goods and services.
“We are proud to report that the Hinds County School District remains on strong financial footing,” said Superintendent Martin. “The guidance shared by GlimpseK12 will help us to continue our efforts to effectively invest public funds in efforts that ensure every student in our district has access to the resources they need to succeed.”
“I attended Mississippi public schools from grade school through college,” said Auditor White, “so I’m committed to finding ways we can help Mississippi’s children receive the best education possible.”
This performance audit is the first of three district-level audits announced by Auditor White in June 2020. Previous reports from the Auditor’s office on outside-the-classroom spending showed ballooning outside-the-classroom spending around the state, a look at how Mississippi’s outside-the-classroom spending compares to other states, and a study of the priority given to administrative pay raises.
This new performance audit report can be found online at the Auditor’s website.