Our follow-up audit of the Los Angeles Unified School District (district) revealed that the district implemented our previous recommendations related to the reporting, investigation, and settlement of allegations of misconduct by district employees.
- It properly notified the Commission on Teacher Credentialing when necessary and within the time frames outlined in state law in 89 of the 92 instances we reviewed.
- It made dramatic improvements in the time it takes to investigate an allegation and is now completing its investigations within an average of five months, or 50 percent faster than the amount of time that the district took for investigations that we analyzed during the 2012 audit.
- It revised its procedures and repaired the flawed data in its settlement-tracking mechanism system that we identified during the course of our fieldwork.
Results in Brief
Our follow-up audit found that the Los Angeles Unified School District (district) has fully implemented our previous recommendations related to the reporting, investigation, and settlement of allegations of misconduct by district employees. In November 2012 we issued a report titled Los Angeles Unified School District: It Could Do More to Improve Its Handling of Child Abuse Allegations, Report 2012-103 (2012 audit), in which we reported that the district often failed to properly notify the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (commission) when required to do so, such as in instances when employees resigned or entered into settlement agreements while allegations of misconduct were pending. We recommended that the district adhere to state requirements for reporting cases to the commission. Our follow-up audit found that the district failed to send notifications to the commission when necessary—and within the time frames outlined in state law—in only three of the 92 instances we reviewed. In contrast, our prior report showed that in at least 144 of 429 cases, the district failed to notify the commission in a timely manner. In making this improvement, the district has fully implemented our recommendation to report to the commission, as required.
Our 2012 audit also found that the district did not promptly investigate some allegations in a timely manner, and we recommended that the district increase its oversight of open allegations. In response, the district created the Student Safety Investigation Team (investigation team) in its central office to investigate all allegations of abuse and sexual misconduct and to assist administrators with conducting other types of investigations thoroughly and in a timely manner. Our 2015 review of the district’s new policies and procedures and of 12 allegations handled by the investigation team showed that the district has made improvements in the time it takes to investigate an allegation. The district is now completing its investigations within an average of five months, or 50 percent faster than the amount of time that the district took for investigations that we analyzed during the 2012 audit. For the 12 cases we reviewed in 2015, the investigation team complied with the district’s policy of completing investigations within 120 working days, or approximately six months.
Finally, the district has designated one division to track settlements entered into with employees, in accordance with our 2012 audit recommendation. Although we initially identified some deficiencies in its settlement‑tracking mechanism, however, the district revised its procedures and repaired the flawed data in its system during the course of our fieldwork. Upon further review, the settlement data were reasonably accurate, given their intended purpose, and we believe that the revised procedures should help the district ensure that the data will remain reliable in the future. In general, by fully implementing our recommendations, the district has improved its ability to investigate and report employees alleged to have committed misconduct, and it has also better tracked and monitored settlements with some of those same employees.
We met with the district’s management on July 22, 2015, to discuss our report’s conclusions and provided a copy of the draft report on August 6, 2015. Since our report had no findings or recommendations, we did not ask that the district formally respond to the audit. The district did provide some verbal comments that were technical in nature and we considered those comments when preparing this public report.