School Closings And Delays

Scranton School Board Denies ‘Self-Inflicted Distress’

SCRANTON -- The state auditor general lodged some serious accusations of financial mismanagement at the Scranton School District Tuesday.

We're learning more from district officials about how things got so out of control.

The state auditor general called the Scranton School District's financial situation, "self-inflicted distress."

He used words including "unbelievable" and "reckless" to describe some of the financial decisions made.

But the school board president says the district's debt is not as "self-inflicted" as it may seem, and the auditor general's remarks lacked context.

"Do you think the auditor general's assessment yesterday was fair?"

"No," said board president Bob Sheridan. "No, I don't because by saying what he said, he's putting it on the current board. The past two, three years he's been saying this board, this board, this administration. It isn't. it's been from 10 years ago."

Sheridan will leave the school board in December after losing in the primary election. He says the state can't place all the blame on the current board. He says he only just learned about some of the district's most persisting financial drains.

For example, the district's exclusive mechanic named Dan Sansky who runs Danny's Auto Service in Scranton's south side. Sansky did not return our calls and his shop was locked up.

The auditor general's office found close to $700,000 in bills for work that can't be traced because the invoices were vague. On top of that, Sansky and his wife had been receiving school district insurance since 2005.

We asked Sheridan how that could happen for so long without the school board knowing about it.

"I got to ask the auditor general that, too. There were five audits done, OK? And nobody brought it up with the audit prior to this last audit. We didn't see it, they didn't see it. I don't know how it got through," Sheridan said.

Rosemary Boland, president of the Scranton Federation of Teachers, says she knew about the mechanic's benefits a few years ago. Her office even filed a Right To Know request about it.

"I don't think saying, 'I didn't know, we did not know,' I don't think that counts as a reason. It's your job to know. You ran for a public office, you should be held accountable for it," Boland said.

Scranton's teachers' union has been working without a contract since August. Boland has a message for the board before they head back to the negotiating table.

"The district seems to think that this union, the teachers' union and the paraprofessionals' union, that we're going to make up the $30 million deficit. Well, they can think again. No, we are not, we cannot give up our jobs, we can't give up our salaries to make up for the mistakes that they have made."

Sheridan says the state's audit doesn't account for the loss of state education funds.

"We're in trouble, part of it's our fault, part of its things we didn't do correctly. Part of it's the state's fault. The state had a big impasse, we had pension demands, all that built up on us fast," Sheridan said.

"To just keep digging your heels in and saying, 'it's the state's fault, or it's the feds fault. it's everybody's fault.' no, it's not everybody's fault. we all have to take responsibility and go forward and try to resolve this mess," said Boland.

The Scranton Federation of Teachers could go out on strike the teachers have voted to authorize one but they have not set a strike date.

13 comments

  • Momofthree

    Isn’t that nice. Rosemary Boland, greedy union boss, states that her teachers are not going to be responsible for the $30 million debt. Isn’t that the way to be a team player. She is more responsible for this debt than any one of us taxpayers in Scranton. If the greedy union teachers strike, residents get your signs together and strike right back against the school district. Even if you have to picket after work or on a weekend. Send a clear message that we are sick of the corruption and taxpayet waste. We all have to pitch in and correct this mismanagement. NO MORE TAX INCREASES!! Enough is enough! Get out and vote for a non-idiot.

  • link12361

    What about the creep stealing the health insurance from the Scranton School District and the tax payers someone has to hold him accountable.

  • I pay taxes too

    Will the A.G.’s office PLEASE take Board members and administrators away in handcuffs for these crimes against the residents?
    FILE CRIMINAL CHARGES PLEASE!!

    • Momofthree

      They need to stop collecting school taxes and we can send our kids to private or charter schools. That way, if there is corruption and mismanagement like this, at least those people would go to jail. I will be very upset if heads don’t roll with this corruption.

  • Matt

    Most local school districts, city councils, and county councils are like this. Why isn’t there another system? Politicians become corrupt eventually. Pretty sure this is common knowledge. Why not have a properly educated manager/accountant to tell the council what they can spend? Isn’t that why the superintendent has a job?

  • PEATER MOSS

    Typical
    Pass the Buck
    Blame the previous administration.

    Now explain this one.

    Under the current administration, Danny’s garage had his garbage picked up every week by a Scranton school district garbage truck.

    • PEATER MOSS

      Thank you for the thumbs down, Its nice to know that you do not like what I said, and since you did not comment, it shows that you cannot dispute the fact that it was going on.

  • Yale Law

    LMAO!!!!!!!!!! They “deny” the bookkeeping, the accusations, or the fact that they’re all unfit for their board positions? FIRE THEM ALL. That’s a LOT of money to be tinkering with……..

  • Cheap tightwad

    Elections are easy to win, often unopposed. Take responsibility and act for yourselves and your children.

  • Mike J

    Bob, i think you, the rest of the board, the Administration, and support staff need to really take the AG’s advice. Get your heads out of your butts, stop pointing fingers and start acting like adults. We’ve already paid too much for your failures and are tired of it. Hopefully there will be a lot of layoffs of the bums all of you hired who couldn’t make it anywhere else. A lot of these bums are making much more than the teachers too.

  • Robert

    While I may have committed adultery in my heart many times, I did not have sexual relations with that woman! Besides, at this point what DIFFERENCE does it make? Now read my lips. No New Taxes!!!

Comments are closed.