Contact: Matthew Sweeney, (212) 669-3747 March 20, 2011
NEW YORK, NY – City Comptroller John C. Liu today announced he has launched audits of two controversial technology programs run by the Department of Education (DOE). These audits represent a small sample of the many requests for audits of DOE operations that the Comptroller received at his “Audit Town Hall” meetings held in all five boroughs earlier this year.
“We conducted these Audit Town Halls to hear from the public, the customers who are supposed to be served by government,” said Comptroller Liu. “That New Yorkers are not shy about speaking their minds helps us do our job better, and in the end improves city government.
“People came to the Audit Town Halls with a lot of questions about how the Department of Education spends their tax dollars,” said Deputy Comptroller for Audit H. Tina Kim. “We’ve seen before how the City’s IT projects can run up exorbitant fees when they’re not properly monitored.”
AUDIT 1: Achievement Reporting and Innovation System (ARIS)
Based on a suggestion received at the Manhattan Town Hall, the Comptrollers’ Office has started an audit of the DOE’s Achievement Reporting and Innovation System (ARIS). In 2007 the DOE hired IBM to develop ARIS, an $80 million data collection system to track students’ academic records in unprecedented detail. Wireless Generation, an IBM subcontractor, is credited with leading ARIS’ development.
AUDIT 2: iZone
New Yorkers at both the Manhattan and Bronx Town Halls also asked the Comptroller to audit the DOE’s “iZone” project that was intended to increase the use of innovative technologies in classrooms. Early reactions to iZone’s efforts have been mixed.
In the coming months, Comptroller Liu will announce additional audits of City agencies that were suggested by residents of the five boroughs.
The Comptroller’s Audit Town Halls were attended by 530 New Yorkers who offered 190 ideas for audits.