Waste and Abuse: Public School Roofing Projects.

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This report details the results of a comprehensive inquiry by New Jersey into one aspect of school construction, the repair and replacement of roof systems, which represents the single most expensive and integral component of a school's physical structure. The investigation began in late 1997 after confidential complaints suggested abuse in the re-roofing of public schools. Investigation revealed evidence of widespread cost-gouging; unscrupulous bidding practices; contract manipulation; questionable design, installation, and inspection procedures; and other abuses. The probe was statewide in scope, involving a review of 115 separate roofing projects in 39 school districts across 13 counties. Projects carried a total taxpayer investment of more than $37.8 million. Key findings fall into five major areas: conflicts of interest/professional misrepresentation, manipulation of public bidding and contracting, questions of safety, inadequate oversight, and improper labor practices/payroll violations. The report discusses the proper school roofing process and how it is subverted, offers a case study of Edison Township school district, provides roofing project summaries for several districts, describes a model roofing project, and provides recommendations.
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