Audit highlights challenges at Steel-High

Written by Matt Paul and Radio Pennsylvania | Feb 21, 2014 2:59 PM
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(Harrisburg) -- A new audit of the Steelton-Highspire School District finds a continuation of financial distress and certification deficiencies.

The Dauphin County district is one of four on the state Department of Education's financial watch list.

State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, whose audit uncovered a $2.7 million budget deficit, says the current situation at Steel-High cannot be tolerated.

"To be blunt the Steelton-Highspire School District is on life support," he says. "Without significant improvement, it is possible that the district will face future state intervention."

"No one wants that to happen, especially with the track record of previous state interventions being mixed at best."

The district's budget deficit has grown each year since 2009.

DePasquale says the financial problems are due, in part, to failure to control expenses, high real estate tax delinquency rates and steep payments to charter schools that are no longer being reimbursed by the state.

His audit, which includes 21 recommendations, also found 64 instances in which professional staff was not properly certified and the failure to maintain criminal history records for 20 bus drivers.

DePasquale's audit of the Reading School District, last month, also warned of a possible state takeover.

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