FOX 29 Obtains Findings Of Philly School Audit - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

FOX 29 Obtains Findings Of Philly School Audit

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One of the schools shut down that still has idle equipment everywhere One of the schools shut down that still has idle equipment everywhere
PHILADELPHIA -

FOX 29 Investigates learns a soon-to-be released audit will claim that valuable equipment and learning tools are sitting idle in some of the city's shut-down schools.

The audit comes at a sensitive time for the district, as it faces a massive deficit and it appears close to getting an infusion of cash from city and state leaders.

The City Controller will argue in his review that not only is valuable equipment sitting idle, but laptops and a sewing machine at other schools grew legs and walked off.

Most of the stuff was returned when questions were asked.

West Philadelphia High closed in June of 2011, but the city Controller says when his auditors took a look inside the moth-balled structure a year later, they were startled but what they found.

"For many years, the Philly schools have acted like money is just like water, there's more where that came from," says Alan Butkovitz, the City Controller.

Butkovitz's workers took pictures of:

* A computer lab, with 22 desktops and a printer, all powered and ready to go...

* Some "interactive whiteboards" sitting idle...

* Exercise equipment...

* Eight boxes of what looked to be new band uniforms...

* Even a grand piano, gathering dust, with no students or instructors to tickle the ivory.

"For years the District took the view they had more important things to do and can't be bothered with keeping track of inventory. It's a problem in the schools and in the city, it's not taken seriously," says Butkovitz.

These are just some of the findings that'll be included in an audit of the District's internal control systems expected to be released Tuesday.

Fox 29 Investigates obtained an early look at some of the findings.

The audit will press the District to do better at tracking its nearly $273 million worth of furniture and equipment.

And while the district argues that the equipment, much of it aging, isn't worth close to that 273 million, it admits it must do better.

"This year we stepped up the game moving forward, actually doing an audit, a very detailed audit, investigating all of the schools that will be closed," says Fernando Gillard from the School District of Philadelphia.

The District responded in detail to the audit, claiming it has improved or will improve tracking of equipment.

A final note: the people who monitor inventory for the schools, they've all gotten pink slips, says the District.

They will only go back to work if the new money materializes.

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