District audit report expected

School Board undecided on how to disseminate information

At least $10,000 and months of planning went into the communications audit of the Steamboat Springs School District, not to mention the time nearly 200 community members and district stakeholders spent in small focus groups with a National Public School Relations Association representative.

Now the Board of Education must figure out what to do with the wealth of information NSPRA will provide.

The School Board, which received a copy of NSPRA's thick preliminary audit report about a month ago, expects the final report to arrive soon and will discuss what to do with it at a retreat later this month.

At Monday's School Board study session, Superintendent Donna Howell said the final report will include numerous recommendations in a wide range of areas. The sheer amount of information and recommendations the report will include necessitates review and prioritization of the report before its release, Howell said.

The district, however, does plan to eventually release the report in its raw form, School Board President Paul Fisher said.

The audit stems from a request last year by Citizens for Education for a survey addressing district issues and personnel. The School Board decided to spend its money on a communications au-dit, which it said would provide a plan for the future.

The decision to bypass the survey in favor of the audit was an appropriate one, School Board member Pat Gleason said Monday.

"We have got a blueprint for communication to carry us into the future," he said while fanning the pages of the preliminary audit report.

The district was sent a preliminary report so that it could ensure no confidential information was released with the final report and so that no one who participated in the audit would have his or her confidentiality compromised, School Board member Paula Stephenson said.

The audit used focus groups comprised of between 10 and 15 district stakeholders to answer questions dealing with a spectrum of district issues. The focus groups met with an NSPRA auditor in late April and early May. The focus groups were formed to include stakeholders such as non-parent taxpayers, students, teachers, community leaders and parents.

Howell, who was hired after the focus groups met, said information from the NSPRA audit will help in her goal of re-engaging the community with the school district and establishing long-term goals for the school system.

The School Board will discuss how to disseminate the audit report's information at its Sept. 23 retreat.


-- To reach Brent Boyer call 871-4234

or e-mail bboyer@steamboatpilot.com

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