Braintree Officials Look to School System Audit to Squeeze Savings
The Abrahams Group has been selected to go over non-educational aspects of the Braintree Public Schools.
Nearly five years after the town's departments were audited following the change in Braintree's government, the school department is now preparing for an independent examination of its own practices.
The Abrahams Group, based in Framingham, has performed audits of districts or portions of districts in Wayland, Westfield, Springfield, Hull and other towns, and has begun in Braintree by requesting job analysis questionnaires from 89 staff members.
Answers to those forms – due last week – will serve as the basis for a comprehensive review of Braintree Public Schools. Abrahams will look at the department's budget process, building and grounds maintenance, transportation, school lunch, communications, accounting and other areas, looking for redundancies and savings in non-educational functions.
The firm will also conduct voluntary focus groups, look at revolving accounts and review financial reporting on non-athletic extracurricular programs.
Key areas where Abrahams could find savings include streamlining the payroll system, consolidating information technology, and making transportation, purchasing and the school lunch program more efficient, Mark Abrahams, a CPA and president of the group, told School Committee members last week.
Abrahams plans to prepare a draft report that the school department can review in about 13 weeks before presenting a final report to the School Committee. The firm has already interviewed committee members and other administrative staff.
The committee voted in May 2011 to formally look into the costs of doing an audit and it was approved about a year ago. Earlier this year, member Joe Zarrella voted against the department's fiscal 2013 budget because an audit had yet to be performed.