Auditor’s office pays for data firm to examine Starkville Oktibbeha School District’s operations and expenditures

A partnership with the State Auditor has helped the Starkville Oktibbeha School District (SOSD) identify ways it could spend more money inside its classrooms. A report released by the State Auditor’s office today shows the school district could save up to $5.3 million by eliminating ineffective annual spending.

“The Starkville Oktibbeha School District expressed interest in improving their spending and operations,” said Auditor White, “and I was excited to partner with them to tackle ineffective education spending in Oktibbeha County.”

The Mississippi Office of the State Auditor also partnered with the advanced data analytics firm GlimpseK12 for this performance audit.

GlimpseK12 used data provided by the district to compare SOSD expenditures to other school districts from across the region and country. Highlights from the report include:

  • Data showed some software programs are underutilized by students and teachers. These underutilized software licenses cost the district over $175,000 each year.
  • The custodial and maintenance costs per student are higher at SOSD than the average for other school districts in the Southeast. Bringing these costs in line with other similar schools in the region could lead to a cost savings of up to $1.8 million annually.
  • Auditors noted SOSD has an opportunity to improve the bidding and purchasing functions by implementing modern, data-driven standards like performance measures and competitive bidding.

“Our school district has identified operational effectiveness as an essential component of the district’s path to excellence,” said Supt. Eddie Peasant. “Partnering with the State Auditor, we were able to analyze and examine costs to determine how we can improve our efforts to maximize financial resources.”

“This report shows the district has a great opportunity to shift additional dollars to where they matter the most: teachers’ salaries and classroom-related costs,” said White.

This performance audit is the third of three district-level audits announced by Auditor White in June 2020. Previous reports from the Auditor’s office on outside-the-classroom spending showed ballooning outside-the-classroom spending around the state, a look at how Mississippi’s outside-the-classroom spending compares to other states, and a study of the priority given to administrative pay raises.

This new performance audit report can be found online at the Auditor’s website.

Press Release

4/29/2021