Cruz Seeks State Audit of School District

Philly Democrat says district needs accountability for its spending.

A Philly Democrat is once again seeking a state audit of the Philadelphia school district’s finances, saying the district needs to show a “greater level of accountability” for its spending.

Rep. Angel Cruz, who represents a portion of North Philly, sent a memo to colleagues last week, asking for their support of his effort.

“The school district’s expenditures have outpaced revenues, requiring significant reductions in services to students,” he wrote. “These cuts to education programs and services are an injustice to the students who continue to suffer as a result of the district’s financial turmoil. The Commonwealth cannot in good conscience continue to spend increasing amounts of taxpayer money on the School District of Philadelphia without a greater level of accountability regarding how the district and School Reform Commission spends the funding it currently receives.”

Cruz has sought such an audit before. In 2014, he authored a resolution — unanimously adopted by the Pennsylvania House — urging the state auditor to conduct a “forensic” examination of the district’s finances. The auditor did not follow through on the suggestion.

This time, Cruz’s proposed resolution would direct the Legislative Budget & Finance Committee to undertake the review.

The committee would “undertake a comprehensive review of the Federal, State and City funds allocated to the school district of Philadelphia and how these funds have been spent,” Cruz wrote. ” The review and subsequent report submitted to the General Assembly and the Auditor General would aim to provide a greater degree of transparency in the district’s finances and ensure that allocated funds are being utilized appropriately and responsibly.”

Spokespersons for the Philadelphia School District were not immediately available for comment.