San Diego Unified School District’s decision to close its internal audit office next year may violate a state law that prevents schools from freely outsourcing employee jobs – something the district said it plans to do.
The office is part of an accountability system created in 1974 to assuage concerns raised during the district’s bid for fiscal independence from the county superintendent.
School board trustees recently voted to eliminate the internal audit office to save $460,000 next year. It was one of many cuts made to close a $124 million deficit in the district’s billion-dollar general fund.
The director of the office and two audit managers – who audit district operations and special education – are scheduled to be laid off. Two remaining auditors, who monitor school Associated Student Body money, will be moved to the finance department, as first reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Though the change is presumably happening because of budget cuts, school board officials are characterizing the move as an improvement. Other experts disagree.
Next year, it’s important that “the ability to respond to concerns that are raised and the ability to proactively conduct investigations is as strong, or stronger, than our current capacity,” school board president Richard Barrera said. “I think the concern has been raised by both the superintendent and the finance and legal department that the current internal audit capacity we have does not actually have the expertise to go in and conduct analysis of particular areas.”