JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri auditor’s office said Wednesday that it will review how state education officials awarded a contract to a consulting firm to suggest ways to improve schools in Kansas City and other unaccredited districts.
The Associated Press
CEE-Trust was hired last year and presented its proposal Monday to the state Board of Education.
Some legislators and community groups leveled criticism after emails raised questions about the bidding process. One complaint was that CEE-Trust’s bid was nearly three times higher than that of a competitor.
Deputy state auditor Harry Otto said Wednesday the office decided that a limited review of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education was warranted based on documents provided by the agency. The auditor requested documents in December related to the contract and to a proposed ballot measure on teacher tenure.
Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro said the department welcomes an objective review and will cooperate fully.
Nicastro has been struggling with a divided Kansas City community over what to do with its long-troubled school system since the state board first determined in October 2011 that the district would become unaccredited in 2012.
The CEE-Trust plan is not the only proposal that the state board will hear, “and we are still open to new ideas,” Nicastro has said.
But emails and other records reported by The Star in early December showed that Nicastro, CEE-Trust and two private foundations that funded CEE-Trust’s work — the Kauffman and Hall Family foundations — had been making plans since April.
The records showed that, once the state board directed the department in June to put the contract for a study up for bid, the department carried out a bid process favorable to CEE-Trust.