Town hall to address Penn Hills debt crisis set for Feb. 28
The Pennsylvania Auditor General will hold a town hall meeting Thursday to discuss ideas for improving the Penn Hills School District.
“I invite students, teachers, support staff and parents to bring suggestions about how we can come together as a community to turn around the Penn Hills School District,” Eugene DePasquale said in a statement.
The forum will be from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at CCAC-Boyce’s lecture hall, 595 Beatty Road, Monroeville. Doors open at 6 p.m. Anyone who would like to speak can sign up at the event.
The auditor general released a report in 2016 detailing the school district’s “mismanagement and lack of oversight that led to the district’s enormous debt problem.”
Penn Hills is more than $172 million in debt largely due to the construction of a new high school and elementary school.
The report led Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala to launch a grand jury investigation, which concluded Feb. 5 and resulted in no indictments.
Instead, the report said the district is guilty of “inexcusable” carelessness that brought “economic ruin.” It also cited concerns over possible ethics violations and conflicts of interests and recommended state lawmakers enact new legislation to avoid future such scenarios.
The state Department of Education has placed the district into financial recovery status and appointed Dan Matsook to work with an advisory committee with the goal of getting the debt-ridden district back on track. The former Wilkinsburg superintendent began his new role Feb. 11.
The school district’s 2019-20 preliminary budget calls for maximum tax increases and projects an $8.1 million shortfall.
Backpacks, bags, food and drink will not be permitted at the meeting.
Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Dillon at 412-871-2325, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .