City Controller Alan Butkovitz today released the School District FY08 Single Audit that included an analysis by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) citing the School District’s smaller, higher poverty schools lack appropriate staffing levels.
A school needs to have sufficient staff in relation to its student population for the School District to be in compliance to receive Title I grant money, which is provided for students of low income families who are at risk of meeting state academic standards. With the state’s review of the staff vs. student ratios, it was determined that the School District failed to use Title I grant money to provide services that are substantially comparable in each Title I school.
“For the past five years, the Controller’s Office has found that the School District failed to provide any documentation that would demonstrate compliance with the comparability requirement,” said Butkovitz. “Without proper documentation, there was no way of knowing if the School District was following the comparability requirement.
“I commend the state for stepping in and providing results that back up this finding.”
The PDE determined that 16 high schools, five middle schools and 20 elementary schools were not in compliance with the comparability requirement using Student/Instructional Staff Ratios on a Grade – Span basis. According to the PDE, the School District’s comparability issues overwhelmingly reside in smaller, higher poverty high school and middle school, both in terms of total numbers and the amount of additional staff needed in each school to be in compliance.
Some of the schools that were determined by the PDE to be out of compliance include: Douglas High School, Germantown High School, Roosevelt Middle School, Sheridan Elementary and J.B. Kelly Elementary.
“I urge the School District to comply with the PDE’s directive to ensure that services provided under the Title I program are substantially comparable between schools,” said Butkovitz. “A balanced funding mechanism among all schools is essential to providing an effective learning environment.”
Along with a review of the Title I Grants, the Controller’s single audit findings include:
- The School District did not obtain a required audit report for one of its subrecipients representing $539,358 in funding relating to the Special Education Grants to States program.
- The School District liquidated grant funds totaling $246,129 beyond the allowed deadlines and without prior approval of the grantor agency for the Reading First State Grants and Improving Teacher Quality State Grants.
- The School District did not maintain periodic certifications that employees funded with Career and Technical Education funds worked solely on the program during fiscal year 2008.
To view a copy of the School District Single audit as well as other audits and reports, please visit the Controller’s Office Website: www.philadelphiacontroller.org.