School Safety Special Audits

Frequently Asked Questions

On December 6, 2023, the Joint Legislative Audit Committee (JLAC) approved a resolution directing our Office to conduct a series of special audits to review certain areas related to school safety and emergency response best practices, including: 

  • School districts’ and charter schools’ emergency response practices and plans. 
  • School districts’ and charter schools’ key physical safety infrastructure and multimedia data communication systems. 
  • School safety interoperability fund. 
  • Other areas relating to school emergency response and preparedness as deemed appropriate by the Auditor General and approved by JLAC. 

The first audit will focus on districts’ and charters’ emergency operations plans and whether they meet the minimum requirements developed jointly by the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) and Department of Emergency and Military Affairs (DEMA) (See question 6 for more information about the minimum requirements). Additionally, it will assess whether districts and charters are following their emergency operations plans. 

  • January through February 2024—Collect initial information and send survey to districts and charters related to their current school safety and emergency response efforts.

    • Week of February 12—Districts and charters will receive a link via email to required survey with an anticipated response due date of February 23, 2024. 

  • March through July 2024—Select districts and charters for in-depth review and conduct audit fieldwork. We will contact selected districts and charters in March 2024 to notify them that they have been selected for an in-depth review. During audit fieldwork, we will visit selected districts’ and charters’ school sites. 

  • August through September 2024—Draft audit report. 

  • October through November 2024—Transmit confidential preliminary draft report to selected districts and charters for review and, if needed, meet to discuss any feedback provided (see question 10 for more information about reviewing the confidential preliminary draft report). 

  • On or before December 31, 2024—Issue public audit report. 

We will email notifications related to the special study audits, including the link to access the survey that all districts and charters are required to complete in February 2024, to the contact information for each district and charter that we used to send a letter informing you of the audit’s start and informational sessions in January 2024. If your district or charter needs to update the contact information or would like to include additional staff to receive these notifications, please email Josh Lykins, Senior Auditor, at jlykins@azauditor.gov

As described in the information sessions, some districts and charters will be selected for an in-depth review of their school safety plans and practices. We will select districts and charters for in-depth review based on the results of our preliminary work and the districts’ and charters’ survey responses. Additionally, we will select districts and charters to ensure that districts and charters of various sizes, types, and locations are included in the review. 

Although we will conduct multiple audits as part of the school safety special audit series, there is not currently a set number of audits. The JLAC resolution that authorized the school safety special audit series directs our Office to review specific areas related to school safety and emergency response practices and authorizes our Office to review additional areas, as deemed appropriate by the Auditor General and approved by JLAC (see question 1 for the specific areas we were directed to review). 

We will work with selected districts and charters to schedule our on-site visits to minimize disruptions. For example, we will work with districts and charters to arrange any school visits such that our visits do not occur during state testing. We will consider the districts’ and charters’ specific circumstances as we plan our fieldwork. 

The minimum requirements for the school emergency operations plans required by A.R.S. §15-341(A)(31) are publicly available on ADE’s website

The JLAC resolution directing our Office to conduct the school safety special audit series requires school districts, charter schools, and charter operators to provide us access to all employees and records as specified in A.R.S. §41-1279.04 that we deem necessary to conduct the audits. Accordingly, any district or charter documents may be subject to review as part of the school safety special audit series. We will communicate with districts and charters throughout the audit to request documents necessary for our review. 

Each audit in the series will result in a public audit report. The public reports will contain the findings and recommendations related to each of the areas we review and the selected districts’ and charters’ written responses to the report findings and recommendations. Additionally, JLAC’s resolution authorized our Office to produce a limited-use, confidential report for information deemed too sensitive to be included in a public audit report. Accordingly, it is possible that we may also issue such reports in some instances.  

Yes. We will provide selected districts and charters with a confidential preliminary draft audit report only with the information pertaining to their district or charter. Selected districts and charters will have up to 10 business days to review the confidential preliminary draft and provide us feedback. We will provide additional information about reviewing the draft report to selected districts and charters at the appropriate time.  

We have made a recording of 1 of the information session available here. A PDF version of the PowerPoint slides presented in the information sessions is available here