NEW CASTLE —
So let’s review:
A report by the Pennsylvania auditor general’s office found that non-resident employees of the New Castle school district had been sending their children to city schools.
However, these employees were not paying the legally required tuition. The auditor general found $110,664 worth of tuition that wasn’t paid. As a result, the district did not get the tuition from these parents, plus it had to return state subsidy funds that had covered those students.
Furthermore, the districts where these students actually lived did not receive the subsidy either — because they didn’t attend schools there.
Who picks up the tab for all of this? Why the local taxpayers do, of course.
Now, a prudent and ethically upright person might wonder what’s being done about all of this. For instance, how does the district intend to get its money back? Who were these people and how did they get away with it? Was there any collusion? Did district officials look the other way? Are there any plans to press criminal charges in a matter that is difficult to excuse as carelessness or a mistake?
And perhaps most significant: If these are the cases the auditor general’s office knew about, how many others were there?
These are the sorts of questions we’ve had at the New Castle News. And we believe it is our responsibility as the community’s newspaper to find the answers and report them to the public.
As part of this process, the newspaper submitted a right to know request to the school district, asking for assorted information. For instance, we wanted to know who these employees are and who was involved in overseeing residency issues.
On Monday, The News received its answer in a letter from the district dated July 16. Basically, the answer was no, but it was the reason we found most interesting.
We were told that the records we requested do not exist and that the district is not required under the open records law to produce them.
Let’s think about that for a moment. The district is saying it has no record of who these employees are.
Now, if you ran a business and an auditor told you employees were using company services without paying for them, wouldn’t you be just a tiny bit curious about who those employees are?
Wouldn’t you be taking steps to get your money back, and even seeking to have these employees fired or criminally prosecuted?
Not in the New Castle school district. There, the administration is apparently claiming it doesn’t even have a record identifying the people involved.
Needless to say, The News will continue to pursue these records via appeal. But meanwhile, we think city residents ought to be asking their administrators and board members what’s going on here. Curiosity and public accountability seem to be in short supply in the district.
NEW CASTLE —
So let’s review:
- New Castle
Arsonists damage New Castle’s football field
With the New Castle football team just days away from the start of practice, vandals have hit Taggart Stadium. Someone set fire to artificial turf at the stadium and damaged a blocking sled the team uses in practice.
New Castle hires information technology director
The New Castle school district has a new information technology director. At its meeting this week the board hired Emily Sanders of Cranberry Township to fill the position, left vacant by the retirement of Beth Barber.
Former Lady 'Canes stars reunite for tour of Europe
Ryenn Micaletti and Abby Allen are headed to Europe. Micaletti and Allen — both members of the 2007 WPIAL Class AAAA girls basketball championship team — have joined forces with News Release Basketball to spend nearly three weeks in Germany and Belgium later this summer playing basketball and helping run clinics.
High school registration scheduled at New Castle
Registration has been set for new students in grades seven through 12 moving into the New Castle school district.
Couple accused of contacting rape victim
A man accused of raping a woman at gunpoint allegedly tried to get her to drop the charges.
Break out the bubbly
New Castle may be the Fireworks Capital of America, but Friday night bubbles filled the air.
State title ties: Wampum, New Castle teams celebrate incredible success
Their spectaular success stories are separated by more than a half century. But they sat side-by-side Thursday morning, sharing more than just breakfast at Jata’s Diner, a familiar meeting spot for former Wampum High School players.
Male Athlete of the Year: New Castle's Malik Hooker
Once in a while, an athlete comes along who redefines the very word. Then, there’s Malik Hooker. The New Castle High graduate took athleticism to a level rarely seen before in the area on the basketball court and on the football turf.
New Castle board adopts budget despite uncertainty
The New Castle school board adopted its 2014-15 budget Monday but may have to re-open it next week. The $5.4 million budget, introduced in May, has no tax increase and will not tap into the fund balance. Taxes remain at 17.72 mills.
District to sell closed schools, contents
The New Castle school district will advertise for proposals to buy its three just-closed elementary schools.
- More New Castle Headlines
- Arsonists damage New Castle’s football field