The Department is in receipt of the Auditor’s letter regarding the procurement process used to award the contract for a study of options to address chronic under-performing schools. We appreciate the Auditor’s feedback.
We would also like to note several important points:
1. The letter is the result of a “limited review and analysis of the procurement process” by the Auditor’s office. Preliminary discussions determined that an official audit was unnecessary, resulting in a review process.
2. There are no material findings; there are concerns noted and recommendations for improving Department procedures.
3. The process used was identified after considering several other options. Given that the study involved the use of no state or federal monies, both the Department and the State Board of Education were challenged as to the appropriate method of identifying the service provider. The ultimate decision was made through the regular bidding process in exercising an abundance of caution and in order to be fully transparent.
4. The bid review team consisted of four individuals, two of whom had prior knowledge of discussions with the identified “vendor,” two who did not. The two with prior knowledge were the best equipped and qualified to provide in-depth knowledge about the scope of work and the meaning of the bid criteria.
5. The successful vendor was the only one with past experience working for a State agency and crafting a plan developed for statewide use.
The Department has taken steps to implement each of the Auditor’s Office recommendations on any future process used to identify service providers, even when the service involves the use of external funds.