Chambersburg school auditors asked to look specifically at conference and credit card expenditures

October 01, 2008|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- A routine state audit is scheduled for next week, but Chambersburg Area School District Superintendent Joseph Padasak said he asked auditors to look specifically at conference and credit card expenditures in light of questions raised by a citizens group.

The audit is to examine the transportation, attendance, certifications and other facets of district operations, Padasak said Tuesday night. The auditors also will be taking another look at how the district used credit cards that had been issued to administrators.

"They were used for legitimate purposes. They were used for business purposes, not personal use," Padasak said.

"It's already been looked at by our solicitor, by our business office," Board President Stanley Helman said. "We have nothing to hide. If there would be, we'd want to know about it. That's why we get audited each year by a local auditor and by a state auditor."

The expenditures have, in many cases, already been subject to audits "and there has been nothing found that is inappropriate," Helman said.


Citizens for Responsible Government President Allen Piper filed Right to Know requests with the district about a number of expenditures, including what turned out to be more than $30,000 spent to send 19 administrators and teachers to a conference at Walt Disney World this past summer.

Piper said more Right to Know requests will be coming in the near future, covering a period of about 2 1/2 years back to when credit cards were issued to nine administrators, he said.

"We want detailed, itemized answers," Piper said. Instead of just a bill from a restaurant or a store, the group will ask for specifics as to what the money paid for, he said.

"Then we're definitely going to call the (Pennsylvania) Attorney General's Office and the Auditor General for a complete review and investigation," Piper said. "We're going to ask that each individual who spent money on trivial expenses not related to education be surcharged."

Earlier this month, district officials addressed the Walt Disney World trip, explaining that the money was from a state grant and that the Model Schools conference had been recommended by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Other expenditures, such as those at local supermarkets and department stores, were for school supplies, and $250 spent at a party supply store was for Color Day festivities and paid for with student activity funds, according to the district.

In late July, the district decided to curtail almost all use of credit cards for routine purchases and instead go back to writing out purchase orders, Padasak said.

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