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DUQUESNE (KDKA) — Five years ago, the state took control of the struggling Duquesne School District and began busing middle and secondary students to West Mifflin.

But despite its financial trouble, an audit by state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale found that the former superintendent Barbara McDonnell and four other employees used district funds as “their own personal piggy bank.”

The audit found that McDonnell authorized some $41,000 in personal, no-interest loans to herself and three other district employees, and about $22,000 of that money was for herself.

While district officials said the loans were for financial hardships, McDonnell is quoted as borrowing $1,000 for “the holidays and my daughter.”

In a statement, DePasquale said none of these loans were approved by the board of education:

“It’s outrageous that the staff of the Duquesne School District — including its former superintendent — used this district’s general funds as a piggy bank. Such behavior is especially outrageous given the district is in state receivership and has to send its middle school and secondary students to other districts.”

DePasquale also took the district to task for questionable accounting. failing to provide documentation for $1.3 million in state transportation reimbursements, and he concluded that the state overpaid at least $180,000 dollars.

DePasquale notes that the former superintendent and the other employees did pay the district back over time through payroll deductions, but nonetheless, he is referring them and the entire matter to the State Ethics Commission.