School transportation funding mistakes hurting classrooms, auditor says

Local News

Poor record keeping could be leading to a lack of funding for Pennsylvania schools.

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said his office is looking into school transportation funds, and the numbers just don’t add up.

“Bad record keeping by school districts is causing them to get less money,” DePasquale said Wednesday.

The state Education Department reimburses school districts nearly a third of their transportation costs. Local taxpayers make up the difference.

Since July 2015, DePasquale said his office completed audits of 42 school districts and found more than $8.4 million in incorrect payments. Some school districts were overpaid, others were underpaid. 

Red Lion School District in York County was underpaid by more than $450,000 

“Because local taxpayers pay the difference, it’s essential that school districts receive exactly what they are owed, not more and not less,” DePasquale said.

DePasquale said lack of documentation due to poor record keeping is responsible for the errors. Moving forward, his office will notify the Education Department when an audit finds a lack of documentation. The department will be tasked with working with school districts to ensure they maintain the necessary records.

“I want to see that more education dollars get to the classroom and don’t end up in excessive transportation costs,” DePasquale said.

DePasquale is calling on the General Assembly to make the transportation formula simpler so fewer errors are made in the future.

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