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Audit of Leon Schools Moving Forward

Audit of Leon Co. Schools to Continue
Posted at 10:15 AM, Dec 01, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-01 09:00:28-05

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) - Officials are moving forward with a follow-up audit of Leon County Schools regarding construction projects within the district.

This comes after a preliminary report found issues with how the district hired contractors. The district is also facing a federal investigation on hiring practices.

The Monday decision means Superintendent Jackie Pons will have to go before lawmakers again to justify those projects.

Pons was not at Monday's hearing, however, attorney Tim Jansen was there representing several whistleblowers in the FBI probe into the district's projects.

"I mean this is tax payers money. This is citizens, this is teachers. This is our government and when you have an elected official who didn't care enough to even come here to speak to this board, it tells you a lot about the work that needs to be done," said Jansen.

The same panel, which has financial oversight of school districts, summoned Pons in February after a 2014 audit report found the school district side-stepped state statutes by failing to competitively select construction managers and architects for large-scale school projects.

State Representative and chair of the joint legislative auditing committee, Dan Raulerson said, "Well that they put their internal controls in place. That they put their operations, procedures and protocols in place that will prevent the issues for instance on the contracts being under two million dollars that were artificially changed to meet that deadline so that they didn't have to go through certain scrutinies and protocols. We need to make sure that those things are in place and being adhered to"

School leaders say they have since adopted a new set of policies when it comes to construction and contract bidding.

Leon County Schools released a statement from Pons on Tuesday saying,“This action would give LCS another opportunity to show the steps taken to improve processes and to be compared to other districts throughout the state who faced similar audit findings. We believe in transparency and will fully cooperate with anything that is asked of the district."