Audits and newspaper investigations are beginning to show problems in the Manatee’s public schools dating to the time Dr. Diana Greene, now superintendent of the Duval Count schools, headed the Southwest Florida system.
Based on a review of several school board minutes and internal audit reports, the Bradenton Herald reported in mid-January an information technology project, which officially began in 2016, was plagued by understaffing, slow decision making, aggressive deadlines and possible deception by upper management, among other issues, the Herald said.
During the time it was being put into place, the cost of the project went from $7 million to $20 million – and when completed it did not operate properly.
The auditors found:
Finding 1: District procedures for procuring the enterprise resource planning system and related services were not effective to ensure the timely and successful implementation of the system.
Finding 2: District controls over monitoring contractual service agreements and related payments could be enhanced. A similar finding was noted in our report No. 2017-092.
Finding 3: The district needs to enhance controls over negotiating, monitoring, and documenting the reasonableness of construction management entity general conditions costs.
Finding 4: Contrary to state law, the district’s grandfathered salary schedules for instructional personnel for the 2014-15 through 2017-18 fiscal years did not base compensation, in part, upon employee performance.
Finding 5: District records did not document verification that the 250 charter school teachers who received Florida Best and Brightest Teacher Scholarship awards totaling $396,800 during the 2017-18 fiscal year were eligible for those awards. In addition, the district disbursed scholarship awards totaling $54,800 to 41 district-employed recipients who were ineligible for the awards. A similar finding was noted in our report No. 2017-092.
Finding 6: Required background screenings were not always performed for contractor workers.
Finding 7: Some unnecessary information technology user access privileges existed that increased the risk that unauthorized disclosure of sensitive personal information of students may occur.
Finding 8: The district did not timely remove the IT access privileges of some former employees.
The auditors also criticized the district for not responding to criticisms in a previous audit.
In response to the most recent audit, the current Manatee superintendent said they would correct the deficiencies noted in the audit.
Greene was superintendent of the district until June of last year.