SuperTalk Mississippi
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School Audits: Your Child’s School May Not Be in Compliance

JACKSON, Miss.–Your child’s school is likely not in compliance with at least one or two points of the law. School audits this year covered about one third of the districts in the state and Auditor Stacey Pickering said most of the schools are non-compliant with textbooks and their own attendance policies.

“It’s a three-year rotation where we’re looking not just at textbooks, but attendance policies, residency issues, safety and security, all these factors of how our school districts function and what we found this year in pretty disturbing,” he said.

“All the districts had written policies on absenteeism, but 96 and 98 percent weren’t following their own policy.”

One issue that got a lot of publicity lately was textbooks. Pickering said there are just not enough to go around in most districts, meaning kids and parents don’t have access to the learning resources at home.

Pickering said that as schools move into the digital age, the same law will apply to digital textbooks and resources.

“As long as we have a systematic presentation of the material, so it sort of takes into account digital textbooks, web-based, computer-based.”

Pickering said some districts are taking this year’s audit to heart to try to make improvements.

“Kudos to the superintendent of Hattiesburg city schools. He literally said publicly ‘look this is a great management tool and helps us see what we are and what we are not doing,” he said.

Pickering said he had not expected the non-compliance to be as widespread. The audits also cover district finances.

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