Client’s Challenge: A New School Superintendent Inherits a Financial Mess

Newly responsible for overseeing a large public school system that included more than 50 schools, a concerned state education superintendent found it difficult to get a clear picture of exactly what was being spent on security operations – and whether the enormous expenditure was actually providing effective protection for the more than 24,000 students under his care.

Our Solution: Conducting an Exhaustive Audit of Security Practices, Procedures and Costs

Asked to perform a detailed independent assessment of the school system’s security program – as well as the third-party service provider managing it – the Hillard Heintze team: (1) conducted an exhaustive review of the threats and vulnerabilities confronting the students, teachers and employees as well as the school’s assets and critical facilities; (2) identified both immediate and long-term prospects for significant cost savings; and (3) submitted detailed recommendations on how to improve and advance the effectiveness and efficiency of the system’s security program – immediately and over time.

Impact on the Client: $12 Million in Savings – in 90 Days

Within 90 days, the Hillard Heintze team identified more than $12 million in annual cost savings. While returning some of these savings to state budget coffers to support other critical state spending priorities, the state’s education commission is applying the rest of it to a systematic, multi-year execution of the strategic recommendations outlined in the assessment’s final, 80-page report.

Unplugged: The Project Manager's Post-Engagement Perspective

“For many state education authorities, it’s awfully difficult to keep up with safety and emergencyrelated imperatives.

Why? The sheer scale of large-population state school systems. High turnover in leadership. The recurring battle for scarce resources every funding cycle. And the high level of reliance on external services from third parties – especially given the chronic absence of stable, long-term financial planning horizons.

A lot of this happened here. A new superintendent. Far too many security guards for the job. Poor transparency into costs. Getting it right took a little time. But the effort paid off in the millions.”

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