The CAROI Concept
The concept of the Cooperative Audit Resolution and Oversight Initiative (CAROI) began with the realization that education programs improve when federal, state, and local education officials work together effectively to resolve issues identified through audits. From this genesis, U.S. Department of Education (ED) officials reviewed audit resolution practices. The review disclosed that many audits resulted in lengthy legal battles that often produced insignificant monetary recoveries, but developed significant ill will. Additionally, the review identified numerous instances in which the causes of the findings did not receive permanent corrective action and, consequently, subsequent audit reports identified the same findings and problems. Given these recurring conditions, ultimately, it is the student and other learners who suffer. Therefore, ED needed a new approach to audit resolution. Through a collaborative effort by ED and state and local partners, CAROI was created.
CAROI is a collaborative method that provides alternative and creative approaches to resolve audit findings as well as their underlying causes. The goal of CAROI is to improve education programs and student performance at state and local levels through better use of audits, monitoring, and technical assistance. One way in which this is done is through ED and the states working together to help solve recurring problems identified through single audits as well as audits from the Office of Inspector General (OIG). CAROI's efforts in this area are exhibited by the various audit resolution agreements found at this web site.
In addition to efforts in the area of audit resolution, CAROI works across ED's offices and partners with states to develop guidance on flexibility issues. CAROI was actively involved in the Department's production of guidance on schoolwide programs and Title XIV as well as on the A-133 Compliance Supplement.
CAROI also serves as a resource for information in the area of audits, monitoring and technical assistance.
CAROI is designed to avoid costly litigation, lengthy adversarial discussions, and non-productive impasses. CAROI often relies on creativity in resolving audit issues. CAROI also may be customized to suit the individual needs of the agency or issue. Further, CAROI recognizes that without permanent corrective action, problems continue with future audit reports identifying the same issues.
CAROI is designed to:
- maximize dialogue between federal, state, and local levels;
- promote creativity and innovation in identifying solutions to problems;
- foster continuous improvement of the audit process;
- improve the efficiency and effectiveness of all oversight activities;
- minimize stereotypical, traditional, and bureaucratic methods;
- decrease hierarchical vertical positioning of authority;
- decrease the need for adversarial litigation; and
- increase the availability of time, money, and resources for teaching, learning, and classroom improvement.
The Characteristics of CAROI Include:
- a non-threatening, open environment of cooperation;
- commitment from all parties, regardless of job position or classification;
- time and resources needed to resolve issues and meet established time lines;
- the willingness of participants at the state and federal levels to negotiate;
- commitment to non-adversarial discussion;
- the recognition that the ultimate customer in all educational efforts is the learner; and
- the right people involved in the process.