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Harrisburg School District

Lincoln Administration Building

1601 State Street
Harrisburg, PA 17103
Phone: (717) 703-4000


April 24, 2019

Attention: All Media
Contact: Harrisburg School District Solicitor, James Ellison at

HARRISBURG, PA – Today at 2:00 pm, Harrisburg School District officials met with the Pennsylvania Department of
Education (PDE) in an effort to address and resolve issues and questions related to its ongoing audit. During the meeting,
the District received a short list of 14 unanswered information requests--of the nearly 300 information requests that the
District previously received and answered in a timely manner. In an effort to promote transparency, the District
immediately agreed to comply with 13 of 14 information requests within 48 hours. That timeframe was unilaterally
extended by PDE to six days. All parties agreed that was a sufficient amount of time for compliance. At the conclusion of
the meeting, the District was informed by PDE that as of 12:00 noon today, just two hours BEFORE the 2:00 pm
meeting, approximately $10M in federal funding had already been suspended. These funds represent approximately 6
percent of the District’s $150M in annual revenues.

Upon receiving this news, Superintendent, Dr. Sybil Knight-Burney and School Board President, Danielle Robinson,
questioned the purpose behind taking such action just two hours before the 2:00 pm meeting, and asked that the decision
be reconsidered in light of the fact that the District agreed to comply with all but one of PDE’s information requests--
unfettered, unsupervised remote access to the District’s eFinance System by the auditors, who admitted during the
meeting that they were unfamiliar with operating the system.

By way of compromise, the District renewed its prior offer to give the auditors onsite direct access to the system utilizing
School District employees who are professionally trained in its operation as a protective measure to safeguard employee
data and privacy rights. That offer was rejected with no credible explanation, despite the fact the auditors admitted
implementing such protective measures in previous audits was acceptable.

Please direct all media inquiries to the Harrisburg School District Solicitor at

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