More than $217,000 in equipment has gone missing in Louisiana's Recovery School District in the fiscal year that ended June 30, and items worth more than $5.4 million are missing over the past three years.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that the state legislative auditor's office has found that district's failure to keep track of its property is a longstanding problem.
"For the eleventh consecutive year, [the Recovery district] did not maintain and accurately report equipment as required by state equipment regulations and did not maintain accurate information," the audit report states.
In its response to the report, the district's CEO drew attention to how the administration has reduced the previous total of missing property from $7 million.
The Recovery School District oversees 38 New Orleans charter schools and several others around Louisiana. Almost all New Orleans students have been enrolled in charter schools since Hurricane Katrina's devastation largely wiped away the city's traditional public school system in 2005.
Louisiana requires public agencies to tag and track moveable items that cost more than $1,000. However, the audit states the Recovery district's ability to do so "is hampered by inaccurate and incomplete information" entered into the state system, "the decentralization of movable property" at various charters, a lack of accountability and training of school officials, district personnel not following property policies, and a lack of policy enforcement by the district.
Louisiana Education Department press secretary Sydni Dunn says most of the unlocated property cited in the audit is outdated technology with very little actual value.
The district says it has recovered $3 million worth of previously unlocated property over the past three years.