OLD FORGE, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale announced Wednesday that he is moving up the launch of a scheduled audit of the Old Forge School District by nearly six months.

In a written statement DePasquale voiced increasing concerns over the finances of the district.

“Following reports of serious dysfunction within the Old Forge school board, I believe it’s necessary to start my next audit in June rather than at the end of the year,” he stated.

A previous audit by his office in 2015 found a $264,582 deficit in the district’s general fund and recommended district officials work to avoid going deeper in debt.

“Educating students should be the top priority of every school district,” he said.

The district’s superintendent of five years, John Rushefski, resigned April 30th saying he was taking a similar position in the Jim Thorpe district citing “philosophical differences” between himself and the current school board.

School District Solicitor Joseph E. Mariotti resigned March 19th, citing alleged dysfunction on the school board. 

“This is the worst I have ever seen the state of affairs, lack of professionalism and decorum in 23 years at the District and therefore, I cannot allow an ongoing association to negatively affect my business and my family,” Mariotti said in announcing his resignation.

During the new audit, which will cover the period of July 1, 2014 through June 30th 2018, auditors will be evaluating the extente to which the district has followed up on the recommendations made in 2015.

DePasquale says that will include financial stability, Administrator contract buyouts, school safety, teacher and administrator certification, transportation operations as well as bus driver qualifications and overall district governance.

When asked by Eyewitness News for a comment, we were told that with the recent resignation of the superintendent the district had no comment at this time.

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