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Schools Audit Finds Flaws in Management of ADA Work 

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A newly released audit of five years' worth of construction remedies to make the Richmond Public Schools more accessible to the disabled shows a series of flaws involving companies involved with the project.

Construction manager McDonough Bolyard Peck Inc. of Fairfax has been paid $905,275.48 as of June 30 to oversee renovations required after a lawsuit was settled Jan. 17, 2006, to make city schools adhere to the American with Disabilities Act, according to the audit.

The company oversaw plans to add ramps at 33 public schools, improve the street curbs at 13 schools, alter parking at 20 schools, add or alter elevators at 17 schools and make restrooms more accessible to the disabled at 43 facilities.

Among the findings by the Internal Audit Services department of the Richmond Public Schools:

The accuracy of progress reports made by MBP could not be verified by school management.
Projects sent out for bid for multiple schools were not broken down by project, making it difficult to identify what project was done at what school.
Some projects scheduled for the first and second year of the five-year assessment period haven't been started.
Some $333,662.97 was paid directly to vendors without referencing a purchase order, making the payments difficult to track.
The construction manager doubted the qualifications of an architect and engineering firm.

The Americans with Disabilities Act audit is one of a series prepared by the school system, including one on the Plant Services Department, first reported by Style Weekly last week, which raised a number of management-related questions about safety, security and waste. [Click here to read that story.] An audit on transportation and school buses also was discussed Aug. 2 at a School Board meeting, the day this audit was released.

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