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West York Area School District superintendent on audit: ‘we’re an open book’

WEST MANCHESTER TOWNSHIP, YORK COUNTY, Pa. — Pennsylvania’s auditor general plans to look into what’s behind several personnel shake-ups happening within a York County School District.

What led to the resignation of former West York Area High School principal Janet May remains unknown, but that's not the only question about the turnover of administrators that has people seeking answers.

The former principal of West York Area High School resigned in February 2018 but she will continue to collect her $125,000 salary for another year, until March 2019.

West York Area School District parent Melanie Degges said “if someone is not working there, why are they getting paid? So that doesn’t make any sense to me at all.”

It's a question to which Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale also would like to know the answer, as he plans an audit of the West York Area District.

“These are allowed to happen, but they have to happen according to the public school code. My job is not to say whether they should or shouldn’t do it, but to make sure that they complied with the public school code,” DePasquale said.

“I do think it should be looked into, though. I have four children that go to West York, so I want to know where things are going in the school district,” Degges said.

West York superintendent Dr. Todd Davies said he found out about the pending audit after someone told him they saw the auditor general talking with FOX 43’s Matt Maisel on FOX 43 Morning News.

“Well, I was a little surprised. That was the first I heard of it when I got that message, but we’re an open book. Everything we’ve done here, is absolutely in compliance with the school code,” Davies said.

Several high-level personnel changes have been reported within the district since Davies took the superintendent role in December including the resignation of a middle school principal in march.

“I don’t know what’s going on with that. I know life changes, families may move, things like that, but that’s quite a few people that it’s turned over,” Degges said.

Last Wednesday, the former assistant superintendent has requested to go back to teaching at the elementary school level but some have wondered if she’s qualified.

“Going somewhere else, she should still have to apply like everyone else does. It’s not like you or I are going to walk in and say 'I’ve done this,' so the job is just yours. Are you qualified for that position,” Degges said.

“There’s no vetting process that’s more comprehensive than working alongside someone, and knowing who they are, and character wise, content knowledge, and their ability to relate with students,” Davies said.

Meanwhile, the auditor general happens to know something about West York Schools as he also lives in the district, but when asked if it’s a conflict of interest, he said no.

“We’ve got to do this by the book. We’ve got a team of three auditors that are going to go in. It will be from our school audit bureau. I’ve given them direction of what to look at. This is how we would go about it, any other district,” DePasquale said.

“I get peace, knowing that we’ve done things correctly, that they’re going to find that there’s nothing out of compliance with code, and that we’re looking out for the best interest of all students,” Davies said.

"We’re like any other school district. We want to help him in any way to get to the bottom of what he needs to get to the bottom of,” Davies added.

Other areas in the audit include a look at the district’s sexual harassment and discrimination policies.