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Questions Arise About Credit Card Usage In West Mifflin School District (page 321492)

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(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo: KDKA-TV) Amy Wadas
Pittsburgh native Amy Wadas joined KDKA as a reporter in July of 2014....
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WEST MIFFLIN (KDKA) — There are concerns over school-issued credit cards after a KDKA investigation discovered questionable spending.

Expensive lunches, nightclub outings and a $50 purchase at the beer distributor are just a few of the charges made by employees of the West Mifflin School District. District officials say they’ve done nothing wrong and can account for every single purchase.

“I would welcome any community member here that would like to come to my office to meet with me,” Superintendent of West Mifflin School District Dr. Daniel Castagna said.

Forty-three credit cards were issued to 43 of its employees such as school administrators and maintenance staff.

“Your school directors should be here for the citizens of West Mifflin and not for yourselves,” one West Mifflin citizen said.

The superintendent says the district is there for the citizens and prior reports stating that the cards were being wrongly used for meals, hotels and gas are false.

“I was a former auditor so I know they are following the rules in the district beyond other school districts,” Diane Stanesic, another West Mifflin citizen, said.

“The detailed review of expenditures has already been made and there were no improprieties whatsoever. The district has not encouraged or forced any administrator to make any reimbursements,” School Solicitor Matthew Racunas said.

“What you’re allowed to do is you can either drive home and take a break and go home or get something to eat and charge mileage and come back or you’re allowed to go out and get something to eat for dinner,” School Board Vice President Michael Price said.

Price says all spending is tracked by a P card system and all expenses are reviewed and scrutinized by several supervisors and accountants each month, including the school board itself.

“We currently have a cutoff of state per diem allowed on bills. We are actually below that but are thinking of making it lower than before,” Price said.

The State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale disagrees.

He said, “We’ve come across this in other school districts and we’ve strongly recommended that they recall the cards and abandon their use. At a very minimum, they should have very tight fiscal control over their use.”

The school board made a motion to approve an automated phone system message that would go out to every home in the district using the district’s phone system that’s used for delays.

The superintendent would leave a message stating that there was no credit card misuse, and if anyone has any questions, they should call him.

The board says they expect the message to go out in the next few days pending legal review.

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