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October 21, 2002

Contact: Bill Edmonds
Florida Board of Education
(850) 201-7130

DOE enters agreement with Miami-Dade schools to open Inspector General's Office
Secretary's Council on Integrity and Efficiency created to promote accountability

TALLAHASSEE — Secretary of Education Jim Horne announced today that the Department of Education has formed a partnership with the Miami-Dade County School District to create the first inspector general's office within a school district.

"We are fully committed to working with members of the Miami-Dade School Board and Superintendent Merrett Stierheim to ensure the efficient and effective implementation of this accountability model," said Horne.

"We are delighted that the initiative to establish an inspector general's office has been met with approval by the state's Department of Education. Our goal is to ensure that our operation's are as transparent as possible and to regain the trust of the citizens we serve," said Merrett R. Stierheim, superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

Through a memorandum of agreement, the inspector general for the school district will be funded by the Miami-Dade County School Board, but will report to Department of Education's inspector general. Through this partnership, the state and the school district have implemented a model for accountability that is under consideration by other school districts in Florida.

As a part of the comprehensive reorganization of the Department, Florida law states that DOE's inspector general is responsible for promoting accountability, efficiency, and effectiveness and for etecting fraud and abuse within school districts, community colleges, and state universities in Florida.

To ensure public trust in education, DOE plans to increase partnerships with inspector generals and audit staff across the K-20 system. With this in mind, the Department has created a Secretary's Council on Integrity and Efficiency to address integrity, economy, and effectiveness issues transcending all aspects of the new K-20 educational system.

The inspector general position in Miami-Dade, the first of its kind, is currently being advertised. The application deadline is October 28, 2002.