TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida state auditors are sharply criticizing the Department of Education for repeatedly blocking access to records and for not allowing auditors a chance to interview key department employees.

The Florida Auditor General last month released a scathing audit that detailed numerous times when the department did not fully cooperate with an audit of a student loan program administered by the agency. The audit was first reported by Politico Florida.

Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart defended the agency and said auditors had a “misunderstanding” of the department’s process. Stewart also contended that her department was not made aware that auditors had found something to justify “this rare and unusual finding.”

Stewart works for a board appointed by Gov. Rick Scott.

Auditors, however, disputed Stewart’s assertion and said they repeatedly shared their concerns with top officials.

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.