Auditor General announces audit of Phila. School District

Posted: April 11, 2014

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, with Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. at his side, announced this afternoon that his office has begun a performance audit of the city School District.

The preparations began April 1 between the staffs of the auditor's office and the district. The auditors are expected to be inside the district at the end of the month, said Susan Woods, spokeswoman for the auditor's office.

The audit will cover 2008 to 2012 and is expected to look at:

Teacher and administrator certification.

Student transportation.

Financial stability.

School safety.

School District governance.

In the 2009-2010 school year, the district received $1.3 billion in taxpayer funding, the Auditor's General Office noted.

DePasquale's team of auditors will also look at whether the 200,000-student district took "appropriate corrective actions" to address findings released in a March 2011 audit report and its special audit last year of former superintendent Arlene Ackerman's contract buyout.

Previous Auditor General Jack Wagner called in 2011 for an independent safe schools advocate, paid for by the state Department of Education, in the aftermath of the racial attacks at South Philadelphia High School. He also called for more training of school police officers, who he said were receiving less training than mandated in the Pennsylvania Public School Code.

The district does now have a safe-schools advocate funded by the state. The district says the school code training mandate is for municipal police officers.

The aim of this audit, DePasquale said in a press release, "is to examine the district's efforts to provide a quality education to its students and appropriately use its taxpayer funds."

Philadelphia's district "educates more students than any other district in the state," he added.

DePasquale noted in the statement the district "was negatively affected by the loss of the charter school tuition reimbursement since the 2011 state budget."

The auditor general's final report on the district will be issued sometime in 2015.

"My goal is to provide an accurate and timely audit report that can help school officials ensure that Philadelphia's students are provided the best possible opportunities to succeed," DePasquale said.

" @ReginaMedina


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