Pa. auditor general to scrutinize state Department of Education

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State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale today announced his office will do a comprehensive performance audit of the state Department of Education, the first such audit.

A news release from the department said the audit will look to see whether the department has the "structure, staff and resources to fulfill its oversight of schools" for a period beginning July 1, 2010.

Spokesman Barry Ciccocioppo said this is the first audit with the stated objectives, but the auditor general's office did conduct audits of the department in 2008 on two specific programs, Classrooms for the Future and the Safe Schools Initiative.

In the news release, Mr. DePasquale said, “In my first year as auditor general, we performed more than 300 audits of schools across Pennsylvania. Most passed with minor, or no problems. In some we found problems complying with laws and regulations that fall under PDE’s oversight. In the worst cases, we found wasted money that should have gone toward classroom education."

He added, “There have been major changes in education funding in recent years and taxpayers deserve to know that PDE can deliver on its mandate to ensure all students receive a high quality education.”

The news release noted these initial objectives:

• " evaluate the structure and authority levels between the State Board of Education and PDE in establishing education policy, rules, regulations, and procedures."

•  " evaluate PDE’s organizational structure, staffing levels, and resources to determine if these areas are sufficient to ensure that PDE fulfills its statutory mandates."

Education writer Eleanor Chute: or 412-263-1955.

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