Philly controller questions schools’ distribution of SEPTA passes

Listen
 Controller Alan Butkovitz cited potential misappropriation of up to $2.5 million worth of SEPTA student transpasses as part of his annual audit report on the school district. (AP file photo)

Controller Alan Butkovitz cited potential misappropriation of up to $2.5 million worth of SEPTA student transpasses as part of his annual audit report on the school district. (AP file photo)

Philadelphia’s public schools’ distribution of millions of dollars worth of SEPTA passes to students has been haphazard, according to the city controller.  

Controller Alan Butkovitz cited potential misappropriation of up to $2.5 million worth of SEPTA student transpasses as part of his annual audit report on the school district.

“There’s chaos at the distribution level of transpasses,” he said. “They’re not able to tell who is supposed to have a transpass and who isn’t. At least 10 to 12 percent can’t be accounted for that they went to the people they are supposed to.”

The passes are issued to students who live more than 1.5 miles from school, those who must cross hazardous highways to get to school and special education students.

Butkovitz also cited issues with activity fund spending.

“The issue was that they are raising money from all sorts of people and they were using it to buy things that were not within the mandate of the student activity fund,” he said.

In a written response to the report, the school district promised to tighten controls come September. 

“It is very important to note that the city controller found no material or significant findings in his audit of school district finances for fiscal year 2014,” the district’s response continued. “The executive summary from the audit indicates … the district’s financial statements were presented fairly, in all material respects, in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.”

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.