Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Wilkinsburg Schools Face New Issue Certifications for Teachers Missing in Files, Audit Finds

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Wilkinsburg Schools Face New Issue Certifications for Teachers Missing in Files, Audit Finds

Article excerpt

Teacher certifications, teacher evaluation forms and proof of education, including transcripts or diplomas, are among the documents absent from the human resources files of the Wilkinsburg School District.

Other documents not found in the files are those used in the hiring process, including interview forms, reference checks, resumes and cover letters, some of which are required by federal law to be maintained.

Those findings were among the disclosures in a human resources audit recently conducted in Wilkinsburg by the Allegheny Intermediate Unit at the request of district officials. They come on the heels of an internal audit that last week revealed staff had taken 346 sick days that were not recorded in the past year, amounting to $102,000 in sick pay.

The state school code requires districts to keep an accurate record of all teachers' valid certificates, said Tim Eller, spokesman for the state Department of Education. But the audit found that "the status of teaching certificate level for many Wilkinsburg School District educators is unknown and not maintained in personnel files," the audit report said.

Substitute superintendent Donna Micheaux said she did not believe the district would face any sanctions for the missing documents since it was the district that ordered the audit to identify the problem and because it is taking steps to correct any deficiencies.

"Our plan is now to take a really close look at the audit and prioritize what we want to work on first with the goal to start the new year with as many of these issues addressed as possible," Ms. Micheaux said. "As far as I know, if we make the corrections, we will be OK with PDE."

She said she believed that personnel files at some point in the district's history contained all of the necessary documents, but that "the process of keeping them updated" failed at some point.

The audit report, a copy of which was obtained by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, was distributed to school officials and board members last week. It said that human resources consultant Ramona Pope is implementing practices that will ensure future compliance with employment law and the state School Code. …

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