Butkovitz: District lacking proper financial controls

CHARLES FOX / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Butkovitz: Releases report.
CHARLES FOX / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Butkovitz: Releases report.
Posted: August 29, 2014

THE PHILADELPHIA School District lacks the proper financial controls to monitor student activity funds, petty cash, high-end equipment and other tasks, according to a report released yesterday by City Controller Alan Butkovitz.

The report, which examines the district's internal controls for the year that ended June 30, 2013, highlights 10 areas and concludes that while some improvements have been made, much tighter oversight is needed to guard against theft and misuse.

"We believe that, if implemented by management, these recommendations will improve the School District of Philadelphia's . . . internal control over financial reporting," Butkovitz said in a letter to School Reform Commission chairman Bill Green.

Among the report's findings, it concludes:

* As of April, there were 46 district locations where petty cash accounts exceeded the desired authorized amounts by a total of $67,658.

* Regarding student activity funds, which totaled $5.1 million, several schools failed to comply with bidding requirements for small contracts, establish finance committees or close inactive accounts.

* Student TransPasses, which cost the district $32.8 million in fiscal year 2013, were at an increased risk for theft and abuse because of breakdowns in distribution and accounting at individual schools.

* Several pieces of the district's art collection could not be located. A district employee reported some art, valued at $28,550, remained in closed buildings and an additional $70,050 of artwork could not be located.

* About 14 percent of district employees who were required to file financial-interest forms under state law did not comply.

In a written response to the report, the district agreed with many of the findings and provided detailed steps it has taken to address the weaknesses.


On Twitter: @ChroniclesofSol

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