(WBRE/WYOU-TV) Auditor General Eugene DePasquale released his recommendations for the Scranton School District’s financial recovery plan. That plan includes a recommendation to cancel the district’s busing contract. A no-bid deal he previously called “the worst in the state.”
The Scranton School District is currently facing more than $200 million in debt and was placed into financial recovery status in January by the state.
DePasquale said the crisis worsened when the district entered into a busing contract without first seeking competitive bids, wasting millions of taxpayer dollars.
“Now that the district is in financial recovery status, it has the legal ability to cancel its expensive busing contract and put those services out for competitive bid – as it really should have done in the first place,” DePasquale said in a prepared release. “The potential cost savings could help to speed the district’s return to solid financial ground.”
DePasquale said the potential cost savings of a new busing contract, an estimated $1,393,479, would be enough money to put 21 teachers back into the district’s classrooms so students can benefit from art, music and language programs again.
Another key recommendation DePasquale offered is to allow the district’s new Chief Recovery Officer to do the job she was brought in to do.
“The Scranton School Board should be placed on notice: financial recovery is your last chance to get it right,” DePasquale said. “If recovery fails, a state takeover will occur – and the local board will find itself completely on the sidelines.”
Some of DePasquale’s other recommendations include:
· Implementing better governance, accountability and transparency;
· Establishing clearer lines of responsibility and accountability among district leaders;
· Acknowledging/answering members of the public who comment during school board meetings;
· More accurate reporting of transportation data to the state to ensure correct reimbursement;
· Stronger oversight and inventory control in its IT department, including a thorough audit; and
· Ending the district’s practice of borrowing large sums of money.
To Read the full list of recommendations Scranton Recommendations