Moving Ohio’s outsourced Statewide Student Identifier system (SSID) to the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) could save more than $430,000 annually, or $4.3 million over a 10-year period, according to an interim performance audit report released today by Auditor of State Dave Yost.
Ohio law currently precludes ODE from accessing student personal information. The performance audit recommends that the General Assembly change the law to allow ODE access, consistent with federal privacy protections.
“You don’t have to blind ODE to protect Ohio students,” Auditor Yost said. “Only one other state does something like this, and denying the data to ODE wastes time and money.”
The report identified current annual costs exceeding $752,000 to maintain SSID with an outside vendor. Moving the database in-house would reduce this cost by more than half. Additional savings would result from avoiding occasional one-time updates to the system, which have cost ODE more than $680,000 since 2004. Non-quantified savings also could result from reduced work at Ohio’s school districts in working with ODE on student information. Only New Hampshire separates student data similarly to Ohio.
Today’s report is part of an agency-wide performance audit of the Ohio Department of Education. The Auditor of State’s office is conducting or reporting performance audits of four state agencies under the authority of Ohio Revised Code 117.46, established in 2011 by Senate Bill 4. In addition to ODE, other state agencies under performance review include the state departments of Transportation and Job and Family Services and the Ohio Housing Finance Agency. The Statewide Student Identifier system database (SSID) was identified as part of the original scope of the ODE performance audit in 2011.
A full copy of this audit can be found online at ohioauditor.gov.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,600 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Dave Yost, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies and promotes transparency in government.