Auditor’s Office partners with school districts to cut outside-the-classroom spending, direct education money to teachers and students

Published 1:12 pm Monday, May 10, 2021

JACKSON, Miss. – Mississippi public schools could eliminate ineffective outside-the-classroom spending to potentially redirect over $200 million to teacher salaries and classroom expenses each year, according to reports released this month by State Auditor Shad White. White’s office recently partnered with three school districts to find ways to improve how they operate. This pilot project was conducted with the help of the advanced data analytics firm GlimpseK12 and was funded by the Mississippi Office of the State Auditor.

For the project, GlimpseK12 reviewed every expenditure made by three school districts over a period of time and offered data-driven recommendations to eliminate useless spending.

After the Auditor’s office released a series of education spending reports in 2019 and 2020, representatives from three school systems – Columbus Municipal School District, Hinds County School District, and Starkville Oktibbeha Consolidated School District – volunteered to have their operations and expenditures examined with these cutting-edge data analytics techniques.

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“I’m thankful for the leadership these school districts showed by volunteering to go under the microscope in the public view,” said Auditor White. “I was happy to help these school districts identify ways they can prioritize their spending on teachers and the classroom.”

Across the three school districts, GlimpseK12 identified opportunities to eliminate ineffective spending which would lead to annual savings of between $7.5 and $12.3 million. The spending areas with the largest opportunities for cost savings include software and digital products, maintenance, and supply chain management.

These school districts combined serve nearly 14,000 children. Together, they represent a range of municipal, county, and consolidated school systems. This level of savings spread across all public school students in the state could lead to over $200 million of eliminated outside-the-classroom waste every year.

“I attended Mississippi public schools until I graduated from college, and I’m the child of a 35-year public school teacher,” said Auditor White, “so I’m committed to doing my part to help make our public schools the best they can be.”

Previous reports from the State Auditor’s office showed ballooning outside-the-classroom spending, a comparison of education spending in other states, and priority given to administrative pay raises.

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