Audit: Richmond School Computer Security is Faulty

Published: February 22, 2009

According to a recently released audit of the Richmond public schools, the district can’t account for 42 percent of its computer equipment. More than 13,000 pieces of equipment could be missing or don’t have proper documents.

Further, the report is critical of the district’s lack of adequate disaster recovery and business continuity plans, formal risk assessment processes, and formal policies and procedures. The audit says Richmond schools expose resources and information to unauthorized revisions.

According to a release from Superintendent Dr. Yvonne Brandon, the district has already addressed 60 percent of auditor’s report.

The following is the district’s response to the claims made by the audit:

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      Richmond Public Schools officials announced today that the district has already addressed more than 60 percent of the recommendations reported in the recent audit of the school system’s Information Communication and Technology (ICTS) department.  The audit, conducted by the City Auditor, reviewed ICTS operations for a 12-month period that ended December 31, 2007.  Areas reviewed included assessment, networking and infrastructure, business planning, and processes and procedures.

School officials concur with 54 of the report’s 57 recommendations and note that the district has already completed or is currently implementing several of the recommendations, including the reorganization of ICTS, the creation of a service desk operation to assign and track work requests, and the completion of an email feasibility to identify enhanced opportunities for electronic communications.

“We welcome the opportunity to work with the City Auditor to identify areas of improvement in our technology department, an area we view as instrumental in helping move this district to the next level,” said School Superintendent Dr. Yvonne Brandon.  “This audit report not only confirms some of the goals of ICTS and RPS, but also clearly indicates we have been on the right path under the direction of the department’s new head, Kavansa Gardner.  We will use the recommendation in the audit report as a road map in our continued efforts to align the department’s effectiveness, efficiency and operations with best practice methodologies.”

Brandon noted that Gardner discovered and presented to the Board in February 2008 a discrepancy in the district’s tracking system for surplus and transfers of equipment such as calculators, filmstrip projectors, word processors and other computer related assets.  According to Gardner, the district kept a paper form of accountability dating back to 1967.  As a result of these findings, the district has started to implement a direct electronic integration and tracking system for increased accountability.

While the audit does not identify cost savings, school officials say that the full implementation of the suggestions offered in the audit will require an investment of more than $1 million, excluding in-kind costs.


To view the report, click here.

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