The Houston Independent School District does not always select vendors based on transparent and consistent criteria and often weights price too low, according to an outside procurement audit.
The report, released Wednesday in response to a public-records request from the Houston Chronicle, raises questions about whether the state's largest school district is getting the best deals on a range of goods and services.
Auditors noted that the inconsistent factors used in hiring vendors "lead to a perception of manipulation and distrust in the procurement process."
HISD trustee Anna Eastman called for an audit after the Chronicle and other news media reported that friends of school board members Paula Harris and Larry Marshall were getting lucrative contracts with the district.
Harris and Marshall have denied wielding influence in the purchasing process.
HISD Superintendent Terry Grier plans to recommend changes to the board after a second audit reviewing specific deals is finished.