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Schools Audit, Part 2, Notes Compliance Issues

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St. Louis School District Headquarters (KWMU photo)

By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis, MO –

Missouri State Auditor Claire McCaskill released the second half of her audit of the St. Louis Public Schools Monday night.

This audit focused on the district's policies and practices, both during the administration of former superintendent Cleveland Hammonds and the current interim management team.

The report found the district had no policy in place requiring competitive bids for service contracts. McCaskill says while that's not illegal, the lack of such a policy in the public sector breeds distrust.

"Right now, the turnaround team can't really adequately defend their position because they can't say 'Look, we put this out for bid and we had all these proposals and this was the best one.' So it is a situation where the public can make assumptions because they can't defend themselves," the auditor said.

District officials declined McCaskill's recommendation to implement a bidding policy, saying the law does not require it.

The audit also noted the district turnaround team has reduced spending by more than $40 million over the last year.

School board president Darnetta Clinkscale says the audit supports the board's actions. "What the auditor showed was that the things that we did were quite appropriate and the decisions that the board made were decisions that needed to be made in the situation that we were in."

However, McCaskill added that unless additional cuts are made, expenditures will exceed revenues for a third year in a row.

KWMU's Kevin Lavery prepared this report.

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