HARRISBURG, PA — The Pennsylvania Department of the Auditor General will return responsibility for performing school audits to the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) effective April 22, announced Auditor General Timothy L. DeFoor.
“Our department was performing these audits for decades on behalf of PDE,” DeFoor said. “There are several factors that led to this decision, but as we looked carefully at the work of our department one thing has become clear – we need our auditors to focus on the work we are required by law to perform. Since I took office in 2021, we have worked to transform the department to be more efficient and effective to better serve taxpayers and this move supports that effort.”
DeFoor said the decision was driven, in part, by the following factors:
- In 2013, this bureau had 120 auditors, but after years of budget cuts, there are only 46 doing the work. Staffing challenges have resulted in a significantly lengthened audit cycle which is currently five years between audits. In order to continue, the audit period would have to expand to 7 years between audits, which would mean findings may not be relevant by the time they are announced;
- Since these audits are the responsibility of PDE, the work should reside with that department; and
- The audits being performed were not fiscal audits but limited to issues such as reimbursement for transportation costs, teacher and bus driver certification and fire/safety drill compliance.
The employees impacted by this change will be encouraged to apply for other positions within the department. Any audits now in process are expected to be completed by the end of 2022.
The department may still audit specific activities of educational entities that use taxpayer dollars through its Bureau of Performance Audits. As with all performance audits, these audits would gauge whether government programs and activities are meeting stated goals and objectives, and if tax dollars are being spent efficiently and effectively.
The department is statutorily required to audit liquid fuel tax collections by municipalities; municipal pension plans and volunteer fire relief associations that receive state aid from the department; various county offices and numerous other state government entities.
Learn more about the Department of the Auditor General online at www.PaAuditor.gov.