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HARRISBURG, PA (March 24, 2022) – After Pennsylvania Auditor General Timothy L. DeFoor announced that his department would stop conducting audits of Pennsylvania public school entities on April 22, Pennsylvania State Education Association President Rich Askey called on him to immediately reconsider his decision, warning that no state government department or agency is prepared to assume this important responsibility.
In a letter to DeFoor, Askey wrote: “This irresponsible action will effectively end any organized, state-level audits of the commonwealth’s public schools on April 22, with no plan for any other state government department or agency to assume this critical function.”
DeFoor has said he plans to transfer public school auditing responsibilities from the Auditor General’s Office to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, but Askey notes in his letter that the department “lacks the staffing capacity to take on this long-term, large-scale project.”
Askey also wrote that state-level audits of public school entities are essential to ensure public funds are spent responsibly.
“Even though the professionals who manage the financial resources of Pennsylvania’s public schools are qualified and responsible stewards of this funding, the need to review the use of the taxpayer dollars their schools receive is fundamental to ensuring that the public has confidence in them and the decisions they make about how to spend public funds,” he wrote.
“Audits are an important part of this process. Unfortunately, you have decided to stop performing them. Unless you reverse your decision, it is unclear who will perform them, how they will be performed, or when, if ever, they will be done.
“Responsible governing requires forethought and planning. Your decision to end audits of public school entities shows evidence of neither.”
An affiliate of the National Education Association, PSEA represents about 178,000 active and retired educators and school employees, student teachers, higher education staff, and health care workers in Pennsylvania.