Pa. lawmakers call for forensic audit of Reading School District

Lawmakers have 'grave concerns' taxpayer funds not being properly managed

READING, Pa. - Members of Berks County's delegation of state lawmakers have asked Pennsylvania's auditor general to involve himself in the Reading School District's latest round of financial troubles.

Pa. Sen. Judy Schwank, Rep. Tom Caltagirone and Rep. Mark Rozzi, all Democrats representing all or part of Reading in Harrisburg, sent a letter Friday to Eugene DePasquale, the state's auditor general-elect, expressing their concerns about the district's latest budget shortfall of $11 to $15 million.

"We have grave concerns that taxpayer funds are not being properly managed by the district," the lawmakers said. "It is clear that substantive action must be taken by an outside, independent, and objective source to drill down and lay bare the machinations that have put the Reading School District in this untenable and unacceptable position."

The latest budget gap is the result of "a recently discovered auditing error from the 2010-2011 fiscal year," officials said.

The lawmakers said they believe a forensic audit of the district's finances is needed to "determine the true and actual balance in the district coffers, uncover how these egregious financial blunders could have been made, determine whether any further action (referral to district attorney, state attorney general, etc.) is warranted, and provide a starting point as to what steps need to be taken to rectify the district's financial mess."

Schwank, Caltagrione and Rozzi concluded their letter by telling DePasquale that "the educational and economic futures of the children and taxpayers of Reading hang in the balance."

DePasquale formerly represented York County as a Democratic member of the House of Representatives. He was elected as auditor general in November.

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