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I-Team: Hanover Area School District overpaid van company by $250,000


HANOVER TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A school district in Luzerne County overpaid one of its van providers by hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Now officials are explaining what went wrong as they try to recoup that taxpayer money.

Co-solicitor Jack Dean told the I-Team the Hanover Area School District paid Frank and Dorothy Ciavarella $250,000 more than what was owed.

Dean said a recent audit by the business manager revealed what he called an “input error” on the mileage forms.

The school board voted Tuesday night to terminate the contract with the van service, which is run by the parents of Board President Frank Ciavarella Jr.  He recused himself from the vote.

Superintendent William Jones didn’t attend the meeting.

“While I don’t think, based on my investigation, it was anything criminal, that’s not our decision to make,” said Dean.  “That’s the District Attorney’s decision, and we’ll put it in their hands.”

Dean said the district immediately reported the error to the Pennsylvania Auditor General, the van company, and the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office.

He also told the I-Team that internal controls have already been put in place to prevent any future issues.

Dean said the district’s other two van providers and bus contractor were paid correctly.

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