Tens Of Millions Of Pennsylvania School Dollars ‘Unauditable’

By Anthony Hennen (The Center Square)

Recent state audits have called attention to some Pennsylvania school districts’ lackadaisical controls that have made auditing how tens of millions of dollars were spent impossible.

The audits do not suggest any illegal activity, but poor compliance measures can hide how taxpayer dollars are being wasted or improperly spent.

May performance audit of Allentown City School District reported $8.5 million in transportation reimbursements that was “unauditable” over a four-year period.

“Allentown City School District (District) did not implement an adequate internal control system over the input, calculation, and reporting of regular transportation data,” the report noted.

RELATED: Centers for Disease Control Paid $420,000 to Track Tens of Thousands of Citizens During Lockdowns

The reimbursements cover transportation costs based on the number of students, the number of days vehicles were used, and the number of miles that vehicles are used with and without students. For Allentown, the district reported student numbers rose while vehicle numbers fell in 2016-17 to 2017-18. Then, from 2018-19 to 2019-20, students transported fell significantly while vehicles and reimbursements jumped significantly.

“Based on past accumulative experience, reported information of an inconsistent nature like this indicates possible errors and, therefore, warrants a detailed review of the reported information,” the report noted.

The lack of documentation, however, makes such a review impossible.

District workers who were responsible for calculating and reporting transportation data were also not adequately trained on the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s reporting requirements. Furthermore, the district did not have an adequate review process of the data it received from the contractor that provided transportation services, the report said.

In response to the auditor’s report, the district said it would enhance internal controls to review and verify the transportation data and provide “periodic training” on PDE reporting requirements.

A previous audit in 2016 noted similar issues with the Allentown school district when it was overpaid by $1.76 million for transportation reimbursements pertaining to nonpublic and charter school students.

Similarly, another May performance audit for Chichester School District noted $1.98 million in transportation reimbursements were also “unauditable.”

“Even though we were unable to audit the reported data, a cursory review of the reported data showed potential irregularities that warranted further review,” the report noted. Chichester had a significant drop in transportation reimbursements, from $792,000 in 2016-17 to about $300,000 in 2017-18. The district relied on transportation software to calculate the data instead of reviewing documentation.

RELATED: Biden Admits He Was AWOL Until April On Baby Formula Crisis

It also lacked documentation to explain a reimbursement tied to a PennDOT hazardous walking route. “The inconsistencies in the amount of reimbursements received, as well as the lack of documentation from PennDOT, would indicate that reporting errors most likely occurred.”

The auditor, however, couldn’t determine the scope of the error or the monetary effect due to a lack of documentation.

These recurring issues with internal controls and documentation for transportation funds is not exactly rare. A February press release from Auditor General Timothy DeFoor noted five other school districts that led to overpayments and underpayments, and $11.4 million in transportation funds that could not be audited.

“Internal controls are practices and processes that help make sure school districts are correctly managing their finances and operations,” DeFoor said. “They provide accountability for how tax dollars are spent and using these essential safeguards can help to prevent waste.”

Syndicated with permission from The Center Square.

The Center Square

Recent Posts

It’s ‘Adios!’ to ‘Aloha!’ as the Left-wing Word Police Strike Again

I like to consider myself a lover of language and words; you have to be…

1 day ago

Trump Announces Plan to Save American Education: Cuts Funding For Schools That Push CRT, Adopts Parental ‘Bill of Rights’

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump released a campaign video outlining his vision for saving American…

1 day ago

Ilhan Omar Whines That Democrats Being Kicked Off Committees is a ‘Threat to National Security’

Far-left Democrat Ilhan Omar suggested that she and her fellow colleagues, Representatives Eric Swalwell and…

1 day ago

TSA Receives $400M in Pay Raises

By Adam Andrzejewski for RealClearPolitics As part of the 4,000+ page, $1.7 trillion omnibus bill…

1 day ago

Wild Video: Pfizer Employee Completely Flips Out After Being Shown Undercover Video of Him Claiming Company Wants to ‘Mutate’ COVID to Profit Off Vaccines

A video released by James O'Keefe's Project Veritas allegedly shows a Pfizer official losing his…

1 day ago

Senate Bill Would Repeal Hated $600 IRS Reporting Threshold

By Kim Jarrett (The Center Square) U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., and seven other senators…

1 day ago