Most disturbing was the report’s discovery of 62 improper user accounts, 46 of which should have been deactivated. TEA is investigating the accounts, which could potentially access students' social security numbers and test scores. In its response, the agency asserted it would work with its private contractor — IBM — to close the security gaps.
Given the importance of the daily average attendance — the key component for determining school funding — discrepancies in measurement could have spelled a major mis-allotment in funds. None was found; the report was largely positive in terms of how the agency made adjustments and simply suggested better tracking and prompter reporting.
In its own audit attempts, TEA exams its database for those districts with the most errors, and it then exams every error within the district. Because of this, larger school districts are much more likely to get audited, and of the 227 school districts audited over the last four years, 111 had been audited twice or more, leaving approximately 1,090 completely unexamined.
State auditors want TEA to look at more school districts to emphasize statewide coverage, and to encourage districts to resolve some of the errors on their own.
Rita Chase, director of financial audits, said TEA has already begun sampling a wider array of districts, and many of the recommendations in the report were in the process of being implemented already.
Texas Tribune donors or members may be quoted or mentioned in our stories, or may be the subject of them. For a complete list of contributors, click here.