Audit Reveals Significant Improvements in JCPS

KDE: “Neither State Management nor State Assistance Necessary”

November 24, 2020—The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) has released its management audit of Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) and determined there is no need for state oversight moving forward.

The intensive review included 1,588 interviews of JCPS staff and Jefferson County Board of Education (JCBE) members, with KDE concluding “there is not a pattern of a significant lack of efficiency and effectiveness in the governance and administration of JCPS.” 

“This is a good day for JCPS and our students,” said Dr. Marty Pollio, JCPS superintendent.  “The results of this audit are a reflection of two years of hard work by hundreds of JCPS employees making significant changes to improve the educational experience of students.”  

Pollio has unveiled a plan he calls the Future State of JCPS, which includes details for continued improvement across the district. The KDE report quotes JCPS personnel as saying “that a ‘cohesiveness’ had developed not only within the schools but also within the district as a whole” around the superintendent’s vision.

The audit found significant improvement in all areas, including Career and Technical Education (CTE) and finance, and recognized the district’s professional development opportunities.

In CTE, the audit cited the district’s work in preparing students for their next chapter. The audit mentions a positive impact on graduation rates and student attendance and included information about English learners out-performing those in the state on CTE End-of-Program assessments.

The initial audit began in 2017, recommending the district pursue additional funding, which JCPS has addressed with the passage of a revenue measure that will raise more than $50 million a year to enhance student learning. This most recent audit from the fall of 2020 found that internal controls are working effectively and financial reports are transparent. The hiring of an internal auditor and JCBE members’ praising resourceful spending in the district to support student learning were also highlighted. 

“We appreciate the hard work of the KDE team and for the confidence they’ve placed in JCPS,” said Pollio. “Working in partnership, we are building a stronger district.” 

“It was important for us as a district to be able to address these areas of improvement in a collaborative process with KDE,” said Diane Porter, chairwoman of the JCBE. “We acknowledge and appreciate the hard work of those in JCPS to make better systems that focus on what’s in the best interest of students. We are grateful for the support of the community during this time.”

The audit did find areas where improvement is still needed in the district, including services for special education students and the use of physical restraints.

“We recognize that there is still work to do,” Pollio said. “We must continue to change and improve to ensure ALL students achieve their potential.”