The Philadelphia school district has failed to conduct background checks of all its police officers and bus drivers, uses unreliable student-data technology, and is the victim of a “broken” state funding system, according to a performance audit released last week by state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale.
In addition to those key findings, DePasquale pointed out two other faults: He called the district’s accounting system for unused textbooks after dozens of school closings in 2013 “inexcusable,” and pointed out that the School Reform Commission that oversees the district had not conducted timely performance evaluations of Superintendent William R. Hite Jr.
The audit found that 21 bus drivers in a sample of 49 (43 percent) whose records were reviewed failed to meet at least one employment requirement, such as state or federal criminal-history and child-abuse clearances. It also found similar issues with the school police force: In a sample of 33 officers, 16 (48 percent) had deficiencies in their background checks.
A version of this article appeared in the May 18, 2016 edition of Education Week as Audit Finds Lax Oversight in Philadelphia District