Friday, September 19, 2014

On the audit of Fayette County Public Schools. What if you were audited?

I have followed the recent drama about Fayette County Public Schools and their audit by State Auditor Adam Edelen (this site sums it up). Two key findings in the audit were that 1) Nothing criminal was going on and 2) No money was missing. It found that there were some procedures not being followed correctly, poor communication in some areas including dysfunctional relationships between key staff members, and some concern about whether money was being spent in the best and most equitable manner.

I can understand where the Superintendent chafes under the Auditor's line that the district suffers from "chronic mismanagement." That type of language denotes incompetence, something that isn't clear at all from the report. The Superintendent has reportedly decided to suck it up and focus on fixing the specific issues the report cited (which ironically will cost the district, which just slashed its budget, a lot of additional money in expensive consultants.)

After recently reading of scandals in other Kentucky school districts I am willing to bet that if every district were audited and results laid out from worst to best Fayette County would fall well above the average.

Here's the thing: Every organization and every person should be audited periodically; we all have something that can be improved which we may not even be aware of. Audits can take the form of employee performance reviews, feedback surveys of employers, accountability partners, and conversations with honest, loving spouses. Every organization and individual has some procedure they're not following, best practice they need help with, and some issue on which they've not lived up to their best intentions. We all need that reminder and that nudge to improve.

Good organizations request audits, bad organizations do not. Good organizations look to continuously improve, bad organizations do not.

What if every department and office in your business, government, church, or school got audited? What would it find? I bet it would read something like the Fayette County report, so be careful casting stones. If you're a Christian you believe that one day you'll stand before God in a sort of audit of your life (1 Cor. 3:13-15, 2 Peter 3). Why not request an audit now?

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