Senate Ed Committee Minority Chair Senator Lindsey M. Williams Questions Decision to Shift Responsibility for Public School Audits, March 31, 2022

Pittsburgh, Pa. − March 31, 2022 − Today, Senator Lindsey M. Williams sent a letter to Auditor General Timothy DeFoor and Department of Education Secretary Noe Ortega in response to last week’s announcement by the Auditor General that he will be closing the Bureau of School Audits and transferring responsibility for all school audits to the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). In particular, Senator Williams expressed concerns over how this abrupt transition away from independent audits will impact Pennsylvania’s ability to ensure accountability and transparency in our schools. “Transparency and accountability with taxpayer dollars are enormous priorities for me,” said Senator Williams. “I’m concerned about the loss of an independent review of our local education agencies and the sudden shifting of this auditing burden to PDE, which is already dealing with an increased number of federal funding applications. Pennsylvania currently lacks the strong protections needed to encourage whistleblowers to come forward and report waste, fraud, and abuse of state tax dollars. I introduced SB 38, the bipartisan Commonwealth Fraud Prevention Act almost a year ago, which would provide these protections, but until that legislation passes, taxpayers rely on the efforts of independent, organized state-level audits like those performed by the Auditor General to safeguard the billions of state taxpayer dollars and billions of dollars in federal emergency COVID-19 assistance that public schools are currently receiving.”

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