Legislators Raise Interesting Questions About Special Audit Of School Facilities Board

Part II: Special Audit Of School Facilities Board Building Renewal Grant

Aaron Lieberman
Rep. Aaron Lieberman asks School Facilities Board Executive Director Paul G. Bakalis to "square" his claims about the process with what school officials are telling lawmakers.

TUCSON – Arizona lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle raised some interesting questions during the presentation of the Arizona Auditor General’s Special Audit of the School Facilities Board Building Renewal Grant before the House Education Committee of Reference.

The findings include conflicts-of-interest, lack of project monitoring, and overall confusion on the part of the Board. Members of the Committee raised serious questions as to the potential criminality involved and what steps might be taken to reform the obviously broken system.

The Auditor General found that $1.6 million in unspent Building Renewal Grant (BRG) Fund monies were available for other BRG projects, and identified 474 BRG projects with more than $49 million in unspent project award monies. Yet one member of the Committee, Rep. Geraldine Peten questioned if underfunding was the cause for the egregious incompetence. Lawmakers appeared startled by the direction of her questioning in light of such clear findings:

However, for the most part, Committee members asked excellent questions that the members of the School Facilities Board should be forced to answer:

The results are reverberating across the state. As a result, members of the Committee, Representatives Regina Cobb and Kelly Townsend spoke about the findings on KFYI’s James T. Harris Show and KBTK FM’s Jeff Oravits show on Monday: