Auditor: Pa. school district lost $433,000 in contracting foul-up

Auditor: Pa. school district lost $433,000 in contracting foul-up

The Hazleton Area School District in Pennsylvania paid for at least $433,841 in computers and services that the district did not receive as a result of mismanagement and lack of contract oversight, said the state's auditor general, Robert Casey.

The school district granted five no-bid contracts to Networked Technologies Inc. of Dickson City in late 2000 and early 2001, for a total of $1.45 million. The company filed for bankruptcy under Title 7, Chapter 11 of the U.S. Code in June 2001.

According to the auditor's report, the school district's business manager failed to follow Pennsylvania law and the district's own policies when he made final contract payments to the contractor of $725,554. 'At least $433,841 of that total was for equipment and services, including training, that the school district never received,' auditors said.

Auditors found that nobody in the school organization was responsible for tracking the amount of computer training teachers received, so the state could not determine how much, if any, training the contractor conducted. 'In addition, the district paid for another $164,036 in equipment and $194,805 in services that were never received,' the auditors said.

State auditors recommended several administrative measures to prevent future contract problems, many of which the district officials have implemented, according to the report.

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