The Buzz

In a switch, Schweich orders audit of Joplin schools

Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich is ordering an audit of the Joplin School District just days after his office said it would wait for the outcome of a citizen petition to force a review.

The decision to proceed with the audit came after the superintendent of Joplin schools, C.J. Huff, asked for the audit so that the district wouldn’t have to shoulder the cost of the study should the petition succeed.

A petition-forced audit would require the district to cover costs. But now that Schweich has ordered the audit, his office will cover costs.

But in approving the audit, Schweich also is siding with one of the big contributors to his re-election campaign, David Humphreys, the Springfield News-Leader reports.

Humphreys, who is leading the petition drive, contributed $111,000 to Schweich last month.

Now, with Schweich’s blessing, the audit is to begin in two weeks.

On Monday Schweich attributed his decision to Huff's invitation.

“As I told district officials in 2011, we have always planned to do an audit of the Joplin Schools; and Superintendent C. J. Huff has asked us to do the audit now,” Schweich said in a statement.

“By commencing the audit under our general authority to audit school districts, our office will pay the costs associated with the audit. A petition is no longer necessary.”