SARASOTA COUNTY - Sen. Joe Gruters requested the Auditor General to conduct an operational audit of the Sarasota County School Board on Thursday.

On Thursday, according to the Herald Tribune, the Florida Senate's Joint Legislative Audit Committee unanimously approved that request, and will expand on an audit released in January that questioned district record –keeping, and construction costs. Gruters, who is a partner in an accounting firm with Eric Robinson, a School Board member often at odds with Superintendent Todd Bowden, said it was important to learn more.

Auditors in January found the School Board had trouble documenting almost 40% of general condition costs involving construction. He also wants more auditing of building costs at the Suncoast Technical College North Port campus that could not be backed with invoices in the January analysis.

In the report that came out in January, auditors had analyzed a small sample of the overall costs and found that, of the $75,000 reviewed, the district could only confirm $47,000.

The legislative move overrides a decision by the School Board in January to wait until an internal auditor was hired to take a closer look at the costs.