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Audit: Correct conflict of interest issues at Northern Cambria schools

By: WJAC Web Staff

HARRISBURG -- Information released by the Pennsylvania Auditor General's office questions the accountability of transportation funding and identifies potential conflicts of interest between employees and school board members in a Cambria County school district.

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said in a release Friday that recent audits of the Northern Cambria School District showed at least two examples of ethics violations and the inability to account for $25,000 in transportation costs.

DePasquale said the district has acknowledged potential conflicts of interest and problems with the maintenance of accurate student records.

"We urge district officials to put into place procedures to prevent such issues from recurring," DePasquale said. "We also have recommended that the district submit corrected enrollment and transportation information to the Department of Education to recoup the money owed to them."

Recent audits found the district submitted inaccurate data for out-of-area foster children that caused the district to lose more than $25,000 in tuition reimbursement from the DOE.

Auditors also found that on two occasions, school board members voted on travel reimbursement and a private settlement agreement that involved their spouses, which is "a potential violation of the state ethics act."

Additionally, auditors found for the third year in a row the district failed to correct accounting procedures for non-public school transportation.

DePasquale said the district agreed to educate board members on ethics polices, on proper ways to collect and submit student data for reimbursement and on correct ways to seek reimbursement for corrected information.

The district has approximately 1,200 students and received $11.6 million in state funding for the 2011-2012 school year, DePasquale said.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times