Pa. to audit Philadelphia School District

    Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale met with Philadelphia schools superintendent William Hite at district headquarters Thursday to announce that his office has begun poring through the the district’s multibillion-dollar budget.

    The audit will include accounts of the district’s academic performance, financial stability, school safety, and administrative governance, DePasquale said.

    “The goal of the audit is to help the entity that we’re auditing, in this case that’s the Philadelphia school district,” he said. “Who are we really trying to help?

    “The kids and the families and the taxpayers of the area. Some of that may end up being criticism; some of it may be praise, but that’s the goal of the audit.”

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    Specifically, the audit will examine how the state’s decision to stop reimbursing school districts for students who enroll in charter schools has affected the school district, DePasquale said..

    Before Gov. Tom Corbett ended this line item in his first budget in 2011, the state used to help cover the stranded costs that districts incur when they lose students to charters. In the year the reimbursement ended, the Philadelphia district had been counting on $100 million that was suddenly eliminated from its revenue stream.

    DePasquale, who expects the audit to take about a year, said he hopes to have an interim report by October. Conducting the audit will cost about $80 per hour.

    The last audit of the district was released by DePasquale’s predecessor, Jack Wagner, in 2011.

    Hite said he will take the audit’s findings “very seriously.”

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