Pa. auditor general cracks down on school districts in recent reports

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene A. DePasquale (Chris Knight/AP Photo)

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene A. DePasquale (Chris Knight/AP Photo)

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale has targeted two school districts in recent weeks for mismanagement of taxpayer funds.

The Scranton School District signed a no-bid contract with a transportation company that resulted in paying an unnecessary $4 million in gas, and a 59% cost increase in busing from 2007 through 2016.

DePasquale says the district wasted almost $12 million.

“The school districts that do not competitively bid for transportation contracts, it leads to higher cost. It leads to less competition, higher cost, which eventually hurts taxpayers,” he said.

The Scranton School District has since mandated all contracts to be reviewed by the school board before work is authorized.

DePasquale also discovered malfeasance in the Coatesville Area School District in Chester County. The school board gave its former superintendent three raises from 2011 to 2014. This happened despite the district borrowing money for its operating expenses, and furloughing teachers.

The district also did not alert the public of these raises.

Jeff Ammerman, business administrator for the district, says they are working to improve transparency.

“In addition to having the minutes and agenda on the website, there’s a whole section of the website that’s kind of dedicated to all the steps the district has taken to improve governance over the last four years,” he said.

Coatesville hired an assistant business manager to fill right-to-know requests in a timely manner, and now the superintendent issues frequent updates to the community through the district’s website.

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