State audit upholds HCDE’s transparency, compliance
Harris County Department of Education (HCDE) is serving students and teachers in a transparent and fiscally responsible manner, the State Auditor’s Office found during a comprehensive, six-month audit released on September 23. The rigorous assessment confirms HCDE Choice Partners position as a standard-bearer in legal compliance and gives its contract holders further assurance about the high quality of its cooperative purchasing deals.
The State Auditor’s Office focused on three years’ of HCDE data and found that it spent property tax revenue in accordance with state law. The independent—and notoriously thorough—agency stated that HCDE “had controls in place to help ensure that it received and used funds from state grants and contracts for the intended purposes.”
As far as audits go, the language is equal to gushing, according to Jesus Amezcua, Ph.D., HCDE assistant superintendent for business services. “It is an affirmation of our work, our policies and our procedures,” Amezcua said, adding that the findings are “probably as good as it gets.”
From January to June of this year, state auditors reviewed financial information related to revenues and expenditures and examined contracts, policies and procedures. They also conducted interviews with HCDE staff. While auditors found room for improvement in some areas, HCDE has already begun implementing changes to bring its procedures up to an even higher level of excellence.
“While we recognize that we can always improve our operations, we are confident about the systems we put into place as a result of the auditors’ recommendations,” said James Colbert, Jr., county school superintendent, HCDE. “Every respected education agency should look for ways to improve services. HCDE will continue to serve our students, teachers and schools as we support the educational needs of the largest county in Texas.”