Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Brevard County Schools Improperly Paid $4.33 Million On Software Contract


BREVARD COUNTY, Florida - Brevard Public Schools improperly paid $4.33 million on a no-bid software contract to Education Data Resources (EDR), according to an external audit report that will be presented to the Brevard County School Board during a meeting which starts at 9:30 on Tuesday, July 21, 2015, in Viera, Florida. The meeting is open to the public and will also be broadcast live online.

The audit was conducted by Widerman Malek, PL, a  Melbourne-based law firm hired by the School Board to conduct an external investigation after it was revealed that Brevard Public Schools had paid over $5.5 million on the software contract even though only 10% of the contract had been completed by June 2015. 


The external investigation found that the $2,350,000 software payment made on July 30, 2014, and the $600,000 and $700,000 payments made in December 2014 were improper because the software had not been delivered. Also, two $200,000 maintenance payments made in July of 2013 and 2014 for new software were improper because the new software had, in large part, not been delivered, and there was little, if anything, to maintain, the report concludes. 

A $280,000 partial maintenance payment on April 29, 2015 was also deemed improper because it was an advance that was not authorized by the School Board for software which had not been delivered. The report found that "..though it is not perfectly clear, there is no evidence to support this being a maintenance payment for the “green screen” software. Therefore, it was most likely a maintenance payment for the new software, which had largely not been delivered." The advance payment was made just before EDR was acquired by another company, Harris School Solutions, in June.

During a Brevard County School workshop on June 23, 2015, Brevard Public Schools Finance Director, Judy Preston, along with outgoing Superintendent, Brian Bingelli, informed the School Board that the only portion of the contract that was working were electronic contracts, which were actually completed a year ago, according to their update to the School Board in June 2014.

School Board member Andy Ziegler had pushed for the no-bid contract with EDR, a newly-formed company that stepped into the shoes of software supplier Crosspointe, that had had a long relationship with BPS. The expensive software contract was awarded at the same time that BPS was closing schools and was met with much criticism by Brevard County parents and taxpayers.

The report recommends that in the future, BPS should:


1. Establish a policy requiring BPS to develop a scope of work that clearly identifies each item being purchased, the amount for each item, and the date of delivery for each item prior to entering into direct negotiations on service and supply contracts;


2. Establish a policy requiring legal review and approval of all contracts for supplies and/or services over a specified value;


3. Establish a policy requiring invoices and proper delivery of supplies and/or services to be verified prior to issuing payments; and


4. Establish a policy separating BPS’ purchasing and payment activities. The same office and/or individuals negotiating the contract should not be the same officer and/or individuals approving payment.  





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