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PA Auditor General demands more answers from school district

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Pennsylvania’s Auditor General is once again demanding answers from the Scranton School District.

This time, he specifically wants to know if improvements have been made to the district’s information technology department.

The district received a two-page letter from Auditor General Eugene DePasquale on Tuesday.

It has seven direct questions that he wants answers to and the superintendent says she is grateful for the opportunity to respond.

It has now been 15 months since Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale released a scathing audit about the Scranton School District.

One area of concern was the district’s information technology department.

The audit found several gaps in internal controls which could potentially lead to loss, theft or misuse.

The district promised to audit its IT Department but that still has not been completed.

Last month, the Scranton School Board delayed a vote to formally ask the Auditor General to look at the department so three members, acting as private citizens, sent him a letter requesting him to get involved.

He now is getting involved.

Katie Gilmartin is one of those three members.

“I’m very, very grateful that Mr. DePasquale has requested this information. It certainly, I have not seen the letter yet but what has been reported certainly seems like a reasonable request,” Gilmartin said.

The PA Auditor General’s letter asks for specific policies governing the purchasing and maintenance of IT items and it also questions if the district has a “master list” of all its equipment.

In a statement Wednesday, DePasquale said, “from all appearances, the district doesn’t seem to think it should be held accountable for its use of taxpayer resources.”

Katie Gilmartin acknowledges asking the PA Auditor General to get involved was a big step.

“Personally, what made me do this is fear. I’m fearful of being implicated in any actions that, with which I am uncomfortable at this point. I think the stakes are very, very high right now and when my colleagues hesitated to seek this additional oversight I felt it very important to speak up!” Gilmartin said.

Scranton School District Superintendent Dr. Alexis Kirijan says it is everyone’s priority to provide a quality education to students in the most “effective and efficient way possible.”

The PA Auditor General is planning to hold a town hall meeting in Scranton on January 23 to discuss ways to improve public education.

That event will be open to the public.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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