In 2015, voters approved a $21 million bond for improvements throughout Taylor ISD. At the July 15 board meeting, trustees approved to audit Sledge Engineering and Baird Williams for the expenses of the bond. Serving as an advocate for the taxpayers of the school district the board will look at the contract and determine if the companies fulfilled their obligations.
"It's a comprehensive audit of where every penny went, what was bought and how it was procured. The whole process," said Taylor ISD Superintendent Keith Brown.
Last year in March, trustees expressed frustration with how long it took to complete the construction work related to the 2015 school bond election. All the information given to the board, until November of 2017, indicated the various construction projects would be completed by the end of that year. However, in March of 2018 there was still discussion about punch list items and digging at the athletic fields.
Brown said auditing the architect and project manger is not uncommon.
"They had a bid price that was approved by the board, they provided the services and we're looking to see if they met their price," he said. "It provides full transparency to anybody. It's not a negative, it's about transparency."
At the Sept. 16 board meeting, Debbie Townsend, of RL Townsend and Associates, reviewed her processes for the audit with the board and answered any questions from trustees. Board members had questions about what was in the audit.
Brown said RL Townsend and Associates is one of the leading firms in Texas that does construct audits. The company primarily audits for cities, counties and public schools.
"[Townsend] has to go through the construction and see where every piece of equipment, screw, bolt, nut and where everything was bought, how it was bought, how it was procured and how it was bid," Brown said. "She'll come back with a comprehensive report and show the board."
He said the report will show how much was spent on everything from dirt work to iron work to dry wall and everything else used in construction.
Once completed, the audit will be available online.
"Anyone who wants to see how it was done and who it was done by, they will be able to read it," Brown said. "It's full transparency for the public."
Brown said that some districts use an audit to try and see how they can improve the next time they go out for a bond. He said Taylor is not in that position.
"It's really like our annual financial audit that we do for the school district," Brown said. "We evaluate where every penny was spent, how it was spent and how it was allocated and did we follow all the guidelines set down by the federal government and the state. We're doing the same thing with this."
Brown said the audit time depends on the cooperation between the auditor and the companies being audited.
The cost of the audit is $24,000, and the district has currently paid $3,300.
"We're looking forward to the report," Brown said. "We had a successful bond project, and I think everyone is enjoying all of it and utilizing it."