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Pickering calls results of school system audits 'alarming'

ACROSS MISSISSIPPI — The Office of the State Auditor has released the 2012-2013 Mississippi Student Information System (MSIS) School Audits Comprehensive Annual Report.

During the previous school year, OSA conducted audits in 46 school districts totaling 146 schools across the state.

“Each school district is required to submit specific student and personnel information to the Department of Education through the MSIS in order to determine funding,” said State Auditor Stacey Pickering.  “My office reviews both the accuracy and reliability of this information so that school districts are funded appropriately.”

The audits reviewed the actions in the following categories: student enrollment, student absentee reporting, truancy reporting, graduation, suspensions, historical postings, teacher endorsements, textbook distribution, property internal controls, vehicle markings, and school safety.

Findings from the 2012-2013 school audits:

  • 35 percent of districts were not able to account for all of the students being reported to MSIS as being enrolled and in attendance
  • 96 percent of districts failed to verify student residency
  • 96 percent of districts are not following policy regarding absenteeism and 98 percent of districts were not following policy regarding reporting unexcused absences to the State
  • 22 percent of districts graduated students who had not met graduation requirements
  • 85 percent of districts did not report suspensions as unexcused absences
  • Only 9 percent of the schools audited were in compliance with safety rules and regulations
  • Only one (2 percent) of the 46 districts audited provided textbooks (traditional bound books or other supplementary material) to each student enrolled in the selected classes

“Many of these findings are alarming, but I am encouraged many schools are making improvements,” Auditor Pickering added. “My office will continue to audit schools to ensure policies are being followed and school funding is being handled properly.”

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