Harrisburg School District praised for transparency under state receivership

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Pennsylvania's Auditor General Eugene DePasquale giving a second update into his real-time audit of the troubled Harrisburg School District. The first update came about two months ago, and the Auditor General's tone this time around was much different.

“I want to start this off saying, the district has gone beyond what we would have hoped at this stage," said DePasquale.

It's been five months since DePasquale began his audit into the district and it was placed into state receivership.

“The team is working 8 days a week," said Dr. Janet Samuel, appointed receiver for the district. "And accomplishing things because the district was broken.”

The latest update to the audit reveals the district was not complying with the Sunshine Act by not publishing newspaper notices of school board meetings. The district quickly corrected the mistake.

"The audit that’s being done," said Dr. Samuels. "It’s an opportunity for us to learn, to make corrections, to ensure we have best practices, ensure we have a standard of excellence underway everyday with all that we do.”

The district finally has accurate financial records, now showing a $2.5 million budget deficit. Dr. John George, acting superintendent for the district says, that deficit is not as bad as it sounds.

“So, by maximizing revenue, and by eliminating some of the waste in the expenditures," said Dr. George. "We believe we can close that $2.5 million.”

With a clear financial picture, the district is now turning its focus on academic recovery.

“We know where we stand financially so, we can make more investments in academics," said Dr. George. "We already started that process by putting a curriculum in place at the elementary level in both mathematics and literacy.”

There will be many more changes to come from the Harrisburg School District as it is set to remain under receivership until at least 2022.

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