Loading…
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Current Weather
Loading Current Weather....
Published: Tuesday, 10/22/2013 - Updated: 10 months ago

TOLEDO PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Advisory group starts to apply TPS audit work

Community members on board for changes

BY NOLAN ROSENKRANS
BLADE STAFF WRITER
TPS board member Bob Vasquez. TPS board member Bob Vasquez.
THE BLADE Enlarge | Buy This Photo

A long-discussed community advisory group for the implementation of a performance audit of Toledo Public Schools finally got under way Monday, though work already has started on many of the audit’s recommendations.

Consulting group Evergreen Solutions presented its first draft of its performance audit to the Toledo Board of Education in April; a revised report was submitted in June with several corrections. The final draft included more than 160 recommendations that Evergreen said could save the district more than $90 million over five years.

The Toledo Board of Education discussed for months how to include community members in the implementation process. The board finally settled on an advisory panel that includes board member Bob Vasquez, representatives from TPS administration, and community members who were selected by district officials.

Mr. Vasquez said recently that an open selection process wasn’t used for the group because that would have delayed its formation even further.

“The public has been asking for a performance audit for some time,” he said.

The group of eight includes business and labor representatives, former TPS staff, a parent and a student, and a former politician. More members could be added. Mr. Vasquez said he would leave it up to the panel to decide its final structure.

Several audit recommendations have been completed and many more are under way, TPS Treasurer Matt Cleland said. For example, the district implemented a textbook-inventory system that should save the district hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. The district now shares space at the TARTA garage on Central Avenue, cutting miles out of bus routes to save money. And TPS officials are also considering a move of central administration from the Thurgood Marshall building on Manhattan Boulevard to another building in the district.

The panel asked Mr. Cleland to provide documentation that shows where work has started, been completed, or would require negotiations with employee unions. There was also broad discussion about the panel’s role, such as whether it simply should oversee implementation or make recommendations on which items to pursue and prioritize.

Panelist Maggie Thurber, a former Lucas County Commissioner who as a blogger has pushed for a TPS performance audit, raised concern that the panel could be used as cover for the board of education to not make the hard decisions on some of the recommendations. Mr. Vasquez said he hoped the panel instead would hold the board accountable for the audit's implementation.

The panel will next meet Dec. 3.



Guidelines: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent. If a comment violates these standards or our privacy statement or visitor's agreement, click the "X" in the upper right corner of the comment box to report abuse. To post comments, you must be a Facebook member. To find out more, please visit the FAQ.

Related stories