PA Auditor General Visits Scranton to Discuss School District’s Financial Recovery

SCRANTON, Pa. -- The state auditor general paid a personal visit to the city of Scranton Wednesday evening to meet with parents, students, teachers, and taxpayers in the Scranton School District.

“It is my hope tonight to hear some feedback of what we want to see,” Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale told the packed theater inside Lackawanna College.

DePasquale met face to face with those in the Scranton School District to discuss what should be put in the financial recovery plan for the district and also about other district problems.

“I wanted to hear directly from the parents, the teachers, and the general taxpayers who I know are frustrated about what they want to see done to try to reform the school district moving forward,” said DePasquale.

This meeting follows a scathing audit that uncovered years of wasteful spending by district officials, which DePasquale said rested heavily on the district's transportation contract.

“This was by far and away the worst school bus contract I have ever seen,” said DePasquale as the room erupted into applause.

Many here talked about cuts to staff and programs.

“I think any part of recovery starts with restoring those programs, the library, the physical education, the art, music that was taken away from the children in this district,” said teacher Matthew Loftus.

“Our marching band mainly, funds we have to get, the school district provides only a slight sliver of what we get in funds,” said Brian Asakiewicz, a West Scranton sophomore.

The auditor general says based on the audit and information collected at this meeting, his office will compile a list of recommendations for the state Department of Education as to what should be in the recovery plan.

DePasquale says the district has been working to restore its finances, but he isn't happy it already chose not to follow one of the audit's recommendations.

“I wanted them to review every contract and bid them all out for additional savings in those contracts instead of just furloughing teachers, which I thought was a disastrous decision.”

People in the Scranton School District can still leave a comment with the auditor general’s office by going to its website: paauditor.gov

 

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