Controller Butkovitz Issues Audit of School District’s Grant Funding

For Immediate Release
April 12, 2017

Contact:  Brian Dries

Controller Butkovitz Issues Audit of School District’s Grant Funding
City Controller finds not all schools were adequately staffed

PHILADELPHIA – City Controller Alan Butkovitz today released the FY2016 School District of Philadelphia (School District) Audit of Grant Funds that found 17 schools lacked appropriate staffing levels as required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

A school needs to have sufficient staff in relation to its student population for the School District to be in compliance to receive the state’s Title I grant money, which is provided for students of low income families who are at risk of meeting state academic standards.  A total of 48 staff was needed across the 17 of the 23 schools tested for compliancy.

The schools with the largest ratios of non-compliant staffing included: Frankford High School, Benjamin Franklin High School, Ethan Allen Elementary School, Bartram High School and Huey Elementary School.

“The School District puts itself at risk for the possible loss of much needed educational dollars when it does not follow the guidelines,” said Butkovitz.  “The grant funding requirements are specific in that all schools receive comparable money for the number of students that it educates.

“It is essential that schools in some of the city’s high-poverty neighborhoods have the same educational opportunities as schools in other neighborhoods.”

According to the City Controller’s audit, the School District recognized the need to improve outcomes and use different approaches to its recruiting efforts to fill vacant positions as required.  Some of action items that have been implemented or in the process of being implemented include the following:
•    A three-month radio and social media marketing campaign to recruit teachers and school based support staff.
•    Effective August 2017, the School District will assume all financial burdens for onboarding costs of those employees making less than $40,000 annually.
•    Since January 2017, the School District received 277 applications for the comparability positions to be filled for the current school year.

“It is encouraging that the School District has taken several actions to increase their staffing levels,” said Butkovitz.  “They have the opportunity now to fill all required positions before they must tackle the looming budget deficit.”

“The students, families and teachers deserve a safe, fair learning environment,” said Butkovitz.  “Providing appropriate staffing levels can go a long way to achieving many educational goals.”