POLICY (Governance & Oversight)
In most states, the department of education has responsibility for various aspects of school construction, operation, and/or maintenance. In some states, this responsibility is under a separate or independent entity established by state law for this purpose. The composition of the administrative body and staffing varies among states. Although they have similar overall responsibilities, their policies, procedures, implementation methods, and funding sources vary widely.
A method for reviewing the functions of public school construction departments at the state and/or school district level is through the appointment of citizen oversight committees, commissions, or task forces. These groups, usually including private citizens as well as stakeholders, can be given broad responsibility by the appointing authority. Their review can focus on administrative policies and procedures and their implementation, internal and external controls, finance and accounting, legal compliance and ethics, and provide recommendations to improve operations and financial accountability.
All state departments of education and/or independent agencies responsible for any phase of school construction, operation, and/or maintenance should be subject to legislative audits or audits by outside independent financial management or auditing firms. Any and all problems identified should be promptly addressed by the department or agency. There is no room for any actual or perceived impropriety. Maintaining the confidence of the general public is of the utmost importance to the successful support of funding for school facilities.
Accurate and timely reporting on expenditures, the status of on-going and completed projects, and progress made in addressing school facility needs are essential to the accountability owed to taxpayers and for taxpayers to understand the scope of accomplishments and future needs.