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Monday, January 27, 2014

State to audit Pittsburgh Public Schools

Posted By on Mon, Jan 27, 2014 at 4:34 PM

Starting next month, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale will begin an audit of the Pittsburgh Public School District. At a Jan. 27 press conference, DePasquale said the audit is meant to help the district avoid a pending financial crisis and improve academic performance.

“Our audit will provide a road map for how we fix those problems,” DePasquale said. “We have to come up with a plan.”

The district is facing a $46.3 million budget deficit in 2016. The audit will look at factors ranging from what the district spends its money on, the impact of charter schools on the district’s budget and enrollment, and even student test scores.

“This is not about casting blame for past decisions,” DePasquale said. “This is not about throwing stones.”

However, DePasquale did highlight how state funding decisions have impacted the district. He said a decrease in state funding for education and elimination of charter tuition reimbursement for Pennsylvania school districts have contributed to the district’s looming budget deficit.

“Urban education in poor districts has taken a hit in state budgets,” DePasquale said. “There is a state responsibility that in my view is not being met."

The announcement was made in collaboration with Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto. While the mayor has no direct control over the school district, he said he hopes to serve as a mediator between district administrators, the teachers union, and foundations as they are faced with difficult decisions in the coming years.

“We’re facing a couple years of uncertainty,” Peduto said. “What we need is good information to make good decisions.”

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