Austin, TX, 78738, USA

Where are the Financial Controls??

Where are the Financial Controls??

Every area of the LTISD Bond 2018 history and Bond 2022 proposal that is reviewed only leads to more questions and more insight into improvements required.
The June 30, 2012 “2018 Bond Program Summary” report published in the July 2022 BoardBook shows the Facilities Condition Assessment (FCA) Program has a $14.5M overrun from the original $36.6M budget. The 2018 FCA budget has been amended so is now shown as $59.3M, with $8.2M left to spend. If the estimate left to spend is correct, the FCA Program will have a $22.7M overrun from the original budget.
Curious minds want to know more about this situation. A month-by-month recap of the “2018 Bond Program Summary” was prepared – a graph can be seen under the 2018 Bond menu on this website. The original budget was amended eight (8) times:

  • $1.1M decrease in 2018
  • $3.3M increase in July 2019
  • $9.7M increase in August 2019
  • $387K increase in October 2019
  • $2.5M increase in February 2020
  • $469K increase in April 2020
  • $7.1M increase in December 2020
  • $290K increase in November 2021

  • No evidence was found in the BoardBook of the Board being informed or approving these changes. They were reported on the Bond Summary Report, but no evidence of rationale or any explanation was found in the BoardBooks. The 2022 Bond Proposal has $38.7M in FCA funding requested. The data provided to the Long Range Facility Planning Committee and posted on the website has bullet point summaries by campus and a total FCA campus request. Serene Hills, for example, has $3.6M for:

  • Level play field and improve drainage
  • Tile wainscot at corridors and new VCT flooring
  • Clean and Paint building exterior
  • HVAC, Paint, Irrigation, Landscaping, Site and Paving

  • The consultant’s actual assessment reports, which SHOULD have detailed assessment findings and estimates which lead to the campus estimate has been requested through a Public Information Request (PIA) but has not yet been received. Based on statements by a Board member and by a social media posting by a Committee member, it is believed that the detailed assessment reports, if they exist, were not part of the Bond review process. Watch for further updates on that.

    But given the findings to date of the 2018 overrun, the Board needs to address some fundamental financial control questions:

    • Who is responsible for the financial management of the capital projects that are within the bond budgets?
    • Shouldn’t the Board be overseeing or at least be informed of budget changes with specifics?
    • Shouldn’t the public be informed of progress against original scope and approved changes?
    • What are vendors / consultants / architects / construction companies being held accountable for?
    • What is the confidence level of the estimates and what are the risk mitigation strategies to help maintain financial control?
    • How are change requests against the 3% contingency (projected at $12M for the 2022 Bond Proposal) managed or is this an area for improvement?

    • The public wants to support our District and our students. There is no question that infrastructure improvements are required. Buildings need to be built and maintained – the public is generally in support of incurring tax increases to support the education of our community kids. But there also needs to be more due diligence with the estimates reviewed by the Long Range Facilities Planning Committee, the Board, and the public; there needs to be more transparency to how the millions of dollars are being awarded to vendors to ensure best value and best efforts to maintain on-time, on-budget; and there needs to be more accountability and basic financial management controls and disciplines adopted to maintain the public trust.

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