More questions in Penn-Delco
I suppose one way to look at is that the district has dodged a bullet. A fairly expensive one at that.
You may recall that the district recently received a letter from the state Department of Community and Economic Development stating in fairly stark terms that the district had misspent a $100,000 grant.
The money was supposed to be used for technology services in district classrooms. Instead it wound up being spent for a sculpture of the Griffin, the Sun Valley High mascot, landscaping, and ceremonial bricks on a walkway outside the school.
The state agency was not amused. They wanted their money back – with interest.
The money was acquired for the district by the Penn-Delco Educational and Cultural Foundation. The boss of the foundation at the time was former school board President Keith Crego. Enough has been written about him and the events that landed him in jail.
The fear was that the district – and beleaguered taxpayers -- were going to be on the hook for the $100,000.
At a packed school board meeting Monday night, board President Anthony Ruggieri indicated that not only was the district not going to have to fork over the money, they likely were going to be able to use the money the way it was originally intended, technology.
They are being reimbursed by their insurance carrier.
Everything’s hunky-dory, right? Maybe. Left unsaid is whether this arrangement will fly with the state. They still seem to be out the original $100,000 that was misspent. Maybe they’ll be satisfied that the district is going to eventually use the money as intended.
The board also shed little light on just what went wrong with the Foundation, how the money was received, and how it was misspent. Instead they seem to be taking the angle that the Foundation was a separate entity from the district. And leaving it at that, washing their hands of the actions that led them down to this point.
The state also indicated in their letter that they intended to cut off the district from any further grants, but district Solicitor Michael Levin seems to have his doubts as to whether they can do that.
Hey, don’t get me wrong. I’m glad the district is not on the hook for the $100,000. Taxpayers in Aston, Brookhaven and Parkside have seen more than their share of shenanigans with the district stemming from Crego’s bizarre reign.
But there still seems to be some unanswered questions about all this, how this first came about in the actions of those connected to the Foundation, and how it is now being resolved.
Then again, this is Penn-Delco. Nothing should surprise us at this point.