Improvements in Certain District of Columbia Public Schools' Administrative Operations

GGD-83-77: Published: Jul 28, 1983. Publicly Released: Jul 28, 1983.

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GAO reviewed the emergency procurement of supplies for the repair and improvement of District of Columbia Public School buildings and the school system's paperwork flow at the regional office level. It also conducted a limited review regarding property and equipment controls.

GAO found that, in fiscal year 1982, about 60 percent of the expenditures made by the school system for repair materials were through open market purchases at higher costs than if the materials were purchased through District or federal government supply sources. However, the school system is in the process of remodeling a building to serve as a warehouse, which will allow for bulk purchases from District or federal government supply sources. Under the new procedure of buying in large quantity, the number of purchase orders issued should also decrease significantly. In a regional office review, GAO found that certain data collection and reporting functions can be eliminated by automation; the school system is planning a new information system which should reduce the paperwork flow. In addition, GAO found that the physical inventories of accountable property and equipment taken at schools and offices in 1982 have not been independently verified, and the system's computerized inventory control system has not been updated since 1979. Actions have been taken or are underway in response to an inspector general's report to improve the school system's inventory management system. However, GAO believes that some verification of physical inventories and better recordkeeping is needed.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Completion of common-use item warehouse not expected until 8/85. DCPS has obtained competitive bids on certain common items but not others, in part, due to lack of storage space. Buildings and Grounds warehouse staff is expanding as workload expands. GAO does not believe further followup is needed due to time lapse between report and expected completion of warehouse.

    Recommendation: The Superintendent of the District of Columbia Public Schools should monitor the actions being taken by the Division of Buildings and Grounds to ensure that the most competitive prices are received for all supply items to be stocked in the warehouse. Also, operations should be monitored to ensure maximum utilization of personnel who would be associated with the reduction in the purchasing workload.

    Agency Affected: District of Columbia: Public Schools

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Assistant Superintendent for Instruction monitored the transition to automated operation. GAO has verified that it is automated, but there is no documentation to support his involvement or to support the District's claim that teachers and administrators can now devote more time to their primary task because they no longer need to perform the manual operations.

    Recommendation: The Superintendent of the District of Columbia Public Schools should monitor the transition from manual to automated operation of the student information system to ensure the most effective utilization of personnel.

    Agency Affected: District of Columbia: Public Schools

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: D.C. Public Schools has not completed the inventory or established the spot checks. Instead it is automating the inventory system and expects it to take 18 months to implement the system at all 200 locations. The system, which provides controls over direct shipment items, will operate at 200 locations; the first location is scheduled to be inventoried in January 1985.

    Recommendation: The Superintendent of the District of Columbia Public Schools should complete the taking and reconciliation of physical inventories and require spot checks to establish the reliability of reporting data on inventories. In addition, the Superintendent should emphasize the requirement of reporting all inventory acquisitions, especially those shipped directly to the using factory.

    Agency Affected: District of Columbia: Public Schools


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