A disagreement over how a $500,000, state-financed education audit
was—or was not—distributed is creating a brouhaha in
In its Sept. 15 edition, the Indianapolis Star quotes a former education adviser to Democratic Gov. Frank L. O'Bannon as saying the state department of education tried to bury the 2001 audit's findings and recommendations.
Larry Grau, who made the accusation, repeated the assertion in an interview last week. "There was no apparent effort to get the report out there," he said. But he acknowledged that anyone could request copies from the education department.
Still, he criticizes Suellen K. Reed, the state's Republican elected superintendent of schools, for failing to promote the findings of the report.
The report recommended, among other ideas, that Indiana establish education goals and move from an elected state schools chief to an appointed one.
Normally, Mr. Grau said, such reports get posted electronically and an ample number of copies are sent to the governor's office for distribution. He said neither happened with the study, titled "Efficiency & Excellence," prepared by the National Association of State Boards of Education, the National Governors Association, and an Indiana public accounting and consulting firm, Crowe Chizek and Company, LLP.
Terry Spradlin, the legislative liaison for the department of education, disagrees. "The concept that this was a hidden report and buried is inaccurate," he said. The Indianapolis Star and Education Week published articles about it in 2001, he noted.
Education Week's Feb. 14, 2001, article ("Indiana Urged to Switch to Appointed State Schools Chief,"), was based on a draft of the report's executive summary.
The department distributed the report to the state board of education and the Education Roundtable, an advisory group to the board that includes four legislators, Mr. Spradlin said.
Mr. Spradlin said the report contained inaccuracies and "didn't recognize many things that we were in the process of doing."
He says the department met its obligation to make the report available.
—Mary Ann Zehr
Vol. 22, Issue 4, Page 17Published in Print: September 25, 2002, as State Journal