NEW ORLEANS - A post-Katrina building boom is underway at the state-run Recovery School District in New Orleans.
More than a billion dollars worth of new and rebuilt schools are either completed or in the pipeline.
But, a new report by the state legislative auditor found some aspects of the construction lacking proper oversight.
RSD Superintendent Patrick Dobard says part of the problem has to do with the large scope of work.
"But, still, we want to make sure that we're very clear in every area," said Dobard. "I think this audit showed that. It did highlight a few areas were we can improve and we're going to continue to work towards it."
Among the findings:
* Some Architect and Engineer reports do not sufficiently inform RSD of the progress and quality of the work.
* Potential change order credits to RSD are not always adequately pursued.
* Of the 120 concrete reports, four indicated concrete had been poured without materials-testing inspectors present and three of the four appeared to have mislabeled concrete mix strengths.
* All required permitting was not complete before construction began on two schools, which resulted in change orders.
* Change orders were approved with overhead and profit that is greater than the 10 percent allowed by the contract.
* Change orders were approved with items that cost more than local construction market standards.
"It points out some issues or some places where we can improve our process on the construction," said Board of Elementary and Secondary Education member Jim Garvey of Metairie. "That's kind of what I would expect from an auditor's report."
Garvey says construction on this scale is a balancing act.
"We are still trying to recover from the hurricane. We are trying to balance things. Both produce and construct and repair these schools as quickly as we can while balancing that with doing it properly."
The RSD also asked the New Orleans Inspector Generals to take a look at the district's policies and procedures.
"We really welcome the additional set of eyes and we would prefer it early on in the process to make certain that we are efficiently using taxpayer dollars," said Dobard.
Of the $1.1 billion in FEMA construction funding, the RSD has used about $330 million.
The district hopes to open three new schools this fall and start construction on seven additional new schools this year.