Lawmakers, teachers' union respond to auditor general's findings

Sen. Schwank: 'The Reading School District needs to get its act together'

READING, Pa. - Reaction to the findings of a state audit of the Reading School District was quick to pour in Friday.

Pa. Sen. Judy Schwank and Reps. Tom Caltagirone and Mark Rozzi, who stood by Auditor General Eugene DePasquale's side during his news conference on Friday, called on him to conduct the audit in a letter they sent sent to his office in January, citing "a series of disturbing problems that have plagued the district."

The lawmakers spoke out again Friday in response to DePasquale releasing his report.

"Unfortunately, mismanagement continues to be as much a part of the Reading School District as reading, writing and arithmetic," said Caltagirone. "Our kids – the students who walk the halls of every Reading School District elementary, middle, intermediate unit, and high school – must return to be the central focus of how this district performs beginning today."

"The fact that the auditor general, who is Pennsylvania's independent watchdog, is pointing to the further evidence of insufficient governance policies is more evidence that the Reading School District needs to get its act together and the board needs to get down to working for the best interests of the children," Schwank said.

"Without immediate and lasting change, the Reading School District will cement a reputation that will last generations," Rozzi said. "That's very bad news for our children. I strongly implore the school board and the administration to work together like they've never worked together before."

The Reading Education Association, the union that represents the district's nearly 1,200 teachers, also responded to the auditor general's findings on Friday.

"We have repeatedly proclaimed that, while teachers must be held accountable for student success, those who make policies and decisions affecting our schools must also be held accountable for providing the resources necessary to attain that success," said Bryan Sanguinito, president, REA. "The Reading Education Association continues to implore management to institute and enforce 'clear and consistent' districtwide expectations and procedures that would keep the focus of the Reading School District on teaching and learning."

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