Va. bill calling for Fairfax schools auditor stalls in Richmond

A proposed bill in Richmond calling on the Fairfax County school board to establish an independent auditor’s office has stalled after delegates moved to push consideration of the bill into 2015.

The legislation, sponsored by Del. Mark Sickles (D) whose 43rd district includes southeastern Fairfax, would have required the school board to hire an independent auditor to oversee the administration's $2.5 billion budget.

The bill was “carried over” into 2015 during a subcommittee meeting on Wednesday morning.

The bill caused consternation among some members of the school board, who viewed Sickles’s effort as meddling in a schools matter.

Several school board members have urged the administration to create a more independent auditing function to help the school system run more efficiently.

In December, the school board voted unanimously to fill two new auditing positions. School board audit committee chair Dan Storck (Mount Vernon) said that the board is aiming to hire an “auditor general” this summer.

Sickles said in an interview that his bill was crafted in order to “start a dialogue” about the schools handling of its vast budget.

“I know the school board might feel that they are under attack but that’s not the intention,” Sickles said. “I think an [independent auditor] is a good management provision.”

Sickles said that he hoped his bill will help speed up the school board's process of hiring a new independent auditor.

“They are on the way to do this, it’s just taking a little time,” Sickles said. “After this, they may not drag their feet as much.”

T. Rees Shapiro is an education reporter.
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