During a special meeting May 28, the Magnolia ISD board of trustees approved engaging with the district’s auditors, Crowe LLP, to conduct an efficiency audit.

An efficiency audit is a requirement for any district considering calling a voter-approval tax rate election, or VATRE, Assistant Superintendent of Operations Erich Morris said during the special meeting.

“Approving [the efficiency audit] and moving forward with the audit does not commit us to having to call the election,” Morris said. “But failing to accomplish this does negate our ability to do so.”

What you need to know

Morris said the auditors will create a peer group of similar districts and compare MISD with those districts on things such as how MISD spends its money; its revenue per student; and the district’s staffing ratios.

“I know that it’s going to shine a positive light on the way we do things,” Morris said. “And it will show how efficient we are versus [similar] districts and how we spend more money in the classroom than most districts. It’ll show that our staffing ratios are favorable in terms of students to staff ratios as well. And it will also show, unfortunately, that we are behind on teacher pay.”

How we got here

While MISD is not anticipating having a shortfall budget for fiscal year 2024-25, trustees first discussed the potential of a VATRE to raise additional funds for the district during an April 15 workshop meeting, Community Impact previously reported.

What’s next

After the efficiency audit is completed, MISD is required to hold an open meeting to discuss the results of the audit, according to Section 11.184 of the Texas Education Code. Additionally, the district must post the efficiency audit results on its website no later than 30 days before the VATRE.