Controller says Philadelphia school district has accountability issues

Philadelphia’s city controller isn’t happy with how the School District of Philadelphia handles its SEPTA TransPasses.

Controller Alan Butkovitz says the program that gives the passes to eligible students to take public transportation could be at risk of abuse and theft.

An audit by the controller’s office of a random sample revealed a significant number of issued TransPasses could not be accounted for — and that worries Butkovitz.

“They spent $33 million a year on TransPasses. In the sample they looked at, 12 percent of the sample couldn’t be justified,” Butkovitz said. “If that percentage applied to the total amount of TransPasses, you’re talking about $3 million.”

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Butkovitz says the inability to account for items is a constant theme at the school district.

“It’s kind of similar to a problem the school district had years ago, where brand-new textbooks disappeared from the schools and had to be purchased all over again,” he said.

In a written response to the report, a school district representative says the district is reinforcing to principals the importance of following procedures for accountability.

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