State AG Has More To Say About Scranton School District

March 14, 2019 - 11:17 am
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Auditor General Eugene DePasquale today released his recommendations for the Scranton School District’s financial recovery plan, including a recommendation to cancel the district’s busing contract – a no-bid deal he previously called “the worst in the state.” The district, currently facing more than $200 million in debt, was placed into financial recovery status in January by the state. DePasquale said the crisis worsened when the district entered into a busing contract without first seeking competitive bids, wasting millions of taxpayer dollars. DePasquale said the potential cost savings of a new busing contract, would be enough money to put 21 teachers back into the district’s classrooms so students can benefit from art, music and language programs again.  DePasquale said his recommendations are based in part on public input he received during a Scranton town hall meeting in January.DePasquale has long sought to improve financial management of Pennsylvania’s struggling school districts. His October 2017 audit report on the Scranton School District found “serious financial instability and an extreme level of board and administrative staff dysfunction” at a level rarely seen in school district audits. The 107-page audit report, which covered July 2012 through June 2016, contained nine findings and 38 recommendations for improvement.

Some of DePasquale’s other recommendations include:

Implementing better governance, accountability and transparency;

Establishing clearer lines of responsibility and accountability among district leaders;

Acknowledging/answering members of the public who comment during school board meetings;

More accurate reporting of transportation data to the state to ensure correct reimbursement;

Stronger oversight and inventory control in its IT department, including a thorough audit; and

Ending the district’s practice of borrowing large sums of money.

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