House blocks GOP push for school audits

HB 3331 Establishes Mandatory Financial Auditing for School Districts, ESDs
By Oregon House Republicans

SALEM”” For the second consecutive session, House Republicans today sought House passage of legislation to increase accountability in education spending. HB 3331 would require mandatory independent financial audits for each Oregon school district and Education Service District. The bill would also help create statewide financial standards to improve how education dollars are spent. As they did in 2007, Democrats rejected a motion to bring HB 3331 and its accountability measures to the House Floor for a debate and vote.

“After passing a $6 billion K-12 budget, Oregonians deserve to know whether their tax dollars are being spent wisely,” said Rep. Ron Maurer (R-Grants Pass), a former school board chair. “HB 3331 would create a system for auditing school finances and would help make sure we are maximizing funding for classroom instruction. In addition to stronger schools, Oregonians would feel more confident that their tax dollars are being used more efficiently and effectively.”

Currently, financial audits of school districts and ESDs are voluntary. HB 3331 would require mandatory financial reviews of each school district and ESD to determine whether they are meeting standards for best financial management practices. If a district or ESD fails to meet these standards, the state would assist them in finding and implementing solutions.

“HB 3331 would enable school districts and ESDs to identify and solve problem areas,” said Rep. Gene Whisnant (R-Sunriver). “This idea has been implemented as a pilot project in a small number of districts, and has produced positive results in improving financial practices. As financial practices improve, we can send more dollars to the classroom and help better prepare our kids for the future.”