posted on December 13, 2011 13:34
Superintendent Arturo Delgado is calling on LACOE to ready itself for a serious self-assessment in response to the recently completed FCMAT management review that offered hundreds of recommendations on how the Office can improve its efficiency and effectiveness.
Delgado has announced that a comprehensive administrative plan will be developed by LACOE’s leadership to closely examine how service improvements and other operational changes need to be undertaken at the Office.
“This is a good thing for us,” Delgado told FCMAT officials after accepting the 379-page review from them at the Dec. 6 Board of Education Audit Committee meeting. “We’re looking forward to any changes that have to be made. We’re going to make some moves quickly on this and in a way that benefits our students.”
At the meeting, Delgado invited LACOE employees to take a “roll-up-your-sleeves attitude” and provide their input to help management find timely and positive solutions. As part of that feedback process, LACOE has set up an online survey for staff members to anonymously submit comments and suggestions.
Delgado also outlined six areas of reform the Office will focus on first: core versus value-added services, desk audits, workers compensation practices, contracts, technology services and relations with the County Department of Probation.
LACOE had requested and paid for the review by the Bakersfield-based Fiscal Crisis & Management Assistance Team to obtain an impartial, professional analysis of possible deficiencies in select policies, practices and procedures.
The analysis, which was not an audit, came up with 401 recommendations for changes or improvements at LACOE. The recommendations centered on: governance structure, staffing and organization; fiscal management and financial analysis; and management of juvenile court schools and other educational programs.
LACOE has already made a number of changes — more than 30 recommendations have been addressed — since August when FCMAT completed its review fieldwork, which involved site visits and interviews with Office administrators and staff members. But many of the proposed recommendations cannot be acted on right away because they will require complex responses by the Office that involve long-term planning.
In their Board presentation, FCMAT officials described LACOE as a unique public institution because of its significant size, reach and impact. “There is no other agency like LACOE in California,” said Joel Montero, FCMAT’s chief executive officer. “It’s a massive organization in the education industry by any standard.”
The FCMAT officials praised LACOE for the high quality of its employees and how staff members were cooperative during the interviews and acknowledged the need for reforms.
Montero reminded the Board that although there are “good things” going on at LACOE, those were not listed in the report because the study was designed to look only at the Office’s deficiencies and other problems.
He commended LACOE for its decisions thus far in moving forward and making changes, given that the recommendations by FCMAT are voluntary and not binding on the Office. LACOE, he said, has already made “excellent moves in the right direction.”
He sounded a strong note of caution, however, about the serious dilemma LACOE faces in needing to resolve its finances, avoid running out of cash and steer clear of potential insolvency during the 2012-13 fiscal year.
“You’ve got to make some decisions now,” he said about the budget, “and the sooner you make those decisions, the better off the agency will be.”
To see the review’s executive summary and other materials, click here.
To view and download the entire 379-page review, click here.