The School District thanks the Auditor General for his comments and his team members who worked with the district through the state audit process.
Mr. De Pasquale’s findings from several years ago, are well taken, and must be addressed. The district agrees that receivership is not the best thing for the Scranton School District or any other school district for that matter; and that receivership does not necessarily improve student achievement.
Mr. De Pasquale addressed the need for operational management and educational changes, of which the administration is well aware. Two years ago the district developed a strategic plan with an embedded financial plan to begin the work to get the district back on track.
The Auditor General pointed out specifics such as an increase in administrators; however what was not discussed was that a restructuring of personnel took place to address the programmatic needs of students, growth in student population and students with special needs and English as a limited language. As new administrator positions were added, other administrator positions were eliminated.
Although the Auditor General addressed buy-out incentives, he did not mention the cost of the collective bargaining agreements and the need for more cooperation from the unions.
He also discussed flaws with the bussing contract and strongly recommended that the district utilize the bid process to cut transportation costs. Bidding the bus contract and getting costs down is something the district is keenly aware must be done.
“The audit is a snap shot in time. I am optimistic that the plan the district has in place to improve student achievement and bring the district to financial solvency over time is doable. By strategically realigning resources, properly distributing workloads, providing teacher and leader training, realistically managing the budget and working together the district will regain financial solvency overtime and student achievement will improve,” said Superintendent Dr. Alexis T. Kirijan.