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Auditor general says school audits will reflect costs to districts from state budget impasse

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HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania — Pennsylvania audits of its school districts will highlight unscheduled expenses resulting from the state government's budget impasse now in its third month, Auditor General said Tuesday.

DePasquale, the state's elected fiscal watchdog, cited a survey that showed many school districts are at least considering tapping their reserves, delaying vendor payments or taking out short-term loans as the 2015-16 school year begins with state subsidies frozen.

The survey by the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials, based on responses from about one-third of the state's 500 school districts, was released last week.

A new state budget was due July 1. But Republicans who control the Legislature and Democratic Gov. remain at odds over issues including taxes, education spending, public pensions and liquor sales.

"It is somewhat ironic that the fight over more funding for education is actually costing school districts money," DePasquale said.

DePasquale, a Democrat, said auditors will begin collecting information about interest expenses, penalties for late payments and other costs stemming from the stalemate. He said he expects to complete as many as 50 audits this fall, and eventually expects to compile the information from all districts. Over the course of the audits, partial totals will be publicized to keep the public informed, he said.

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