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DePasquale says Revelation about Pay Hikes in Coatesville School District Raises Questions about Board’s Transparency, Accountability

Coatesville Area School District
District attorney shared additional details about former superintendent’s pay raises

HARRISBURG, PA — Auditor General Eugene DePasquale today said he is evaluating options for action based on information provided last week by the Chester County District Attorney’s Office regarding raises for the Coatesville Area School District’s former superintendent.

“Using its investigative authority, the Chester County District Attorney’s Office had found information in a personnel file that sheds some light on the former superintendent’s raises,” DePasquale said.

Specifically, the district attorney’s office notified the auditor general that there is a record indicating that the school board approved some or all of the former superintendent’s raises.

“The information provided raises serious questions about the former school board’s lack of transparency and accountability to students, parents and taxpayers.

“In addition, I demand answers about why my audit team did not receive this document during the course of our audit.

“I have full confidence in the District Attorney’s Office for its earlier investigations – which led to the convictions of several former district employees – and their quick response and cooperation following up on my audit.”

The audit report released earlier this month should have reflected that the former superintendent returned a portion of the eight percent raise he received in the 2011-12 school year when other staff salaries were frozen.

“It is inexcusable if board members approve a raise in a closed-door session, keeping the public in the dark and denying them an opportunity to share their opinion,” DePasquale said, noting that not only was there no public vote on the raise, the meeting minutes from the May 29, 2013 school board meeting state that: “the Board of School Directors modify/amend the employment contract of the District Superintendent with no change in salary or benefits.”

“At minimum, the former school board violated the Public School Code because it failed to vote in a public session on a 10-percent raise in 2013-14,” DePasquale said. “I have directed my team to review the information provided by the DA’s office and evaluate our options for future action.

“As we saw last week with an arrest following up on my audit of the Scranton School District, this is another example of how my audits and law enforcement agencies work together to hold people accountable.”

The 46-page Coatesville Area School District audit report is available online at www.PaAuditor.gov.

Source: Pennsylvania Department of the Auditor General

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