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State auditor general moves up Lehighton SD audit

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Published July 09. 2019 11:12AM


Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said this week he has moved up the timeline to begin an audit of the Lehighton Area School District, citing its “struggle with a multimillion dollar budget deficit.”

“Local residents who are concerned about the district’s governance and financial management have asked me to conduct an audit,” DePasquale said in a news release. “It’s important for the adults who are running the district to remember that the best interests of students should always be their primary focus.”

DePasquale’s last audit of the district was conducted in 2015. The new audit will cover July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2018. It was originally scheduled to begin later this year.

Lehighton Business Administrator Patricia Denicola said the Auditor General’s office performs routine state audits of school districts every few years.

“As a CPA and former public accounting auditor, I am looking forward to the state audit,” she said. “Audits provide useful information and often recommend improved operational procedures.”

According to the news release, the audit will focus on areas that may include financial stability, administrator contract buyouts, school safety, teacher and administrator certification, transportation operations, bus driver qualifications, and overall district governance.

DePasquale notified district officials before the start of the audit work.

“Following my audit recommendations can help districts overcome obstacles and focus on improving student education, as the remarkable turnaround in the Reading School District has proven,” he added.

Late last month, Lehighton approved a 1-mill property tax increase to help slice what was once a proposed $4.5 million shortfall down to $2.5 million for its 2019-20 budget.

Superintendent Jonathan Cleaver said the board will get monthly reports detailing exactly what is remaining in each account.

Denicola, who replaced Brian Feick in March, told the board that medical claims paid from July through March, totaling $3.5 million, were not shown as expenditures on the books.

Throughout the budget process, Denicola said, she has used prior years’ actual expenditures and the actual expenditures to date in 2018-19 to form the 2019-20 budget.

The board, in June, also unanimously approved seeking proposals from firms willing to do a forensic audit of the district’s finances.


The Socialist teaching government school systems in PA, thinks nothing of extorting from the citizens. Just a thought S.B. members across the state... You can't milk a dead cow.
Let me translate that for you... You won't get revenue from foreclosures.
Good morning. Joe, please refer yourself to the curriculum of the Pennsylvania Core, (common core) educational program we use in most of our local school. Not only do they teach socialism, but they also teach marxism, and to a lesser extent some capitalism.

The ideologies of socialism are at the heart of our free and public education system. By definition, a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

In Pennsylvania, the public school system is an entitlement program, with every child entitled to a free and public education paid for by those with real estate, an income, or consumption by means of taxes levied by the local school board. The authority to take by the threat of force is an elected authority. The government overseeing this entitlement program is your school board members.

If you look across the state, as the people learn they have a choice to exit the public school indoctrination they taking it. By using the market forces found in a capitalism structure to choose the best for their children, they are. These options have proved to provide a better, individual-based education that provides higher achievements by students which in turn strengthens our communities. Just look the enrollment projections (the State enrollment and actual enrollment data) to see a steady decline projected from the past 5 years, and projections forward continuing the decline. The collection of our students into mega complexes is on the decline, parents are opting for the safety of their children over the egos of dignitaries building monuments, exposing our children to health and safety risks.


Citizen David F. Bradley, Sr.
Seems like it is no problem "slicing" any deficit. Simply raise taxes. Wow, how easy was that. The powers that be in the school district might even get the idea that their budget is pretty much unlimited. Maybe they already got that memo. I seem to recall reading somewhere that the Lehighton school district was sub par in some review or ratings system. So, why are we paying for premium and only getting regular?
Good evening. A budget as proposed that had a slight tax decrease.

The balanced budget used verified numbers provided by the State documents and the finance department's filing with financial institutions. Both sources are verified as legitimate since any untruthfulness to those entities would carry heavy penalties. The information our Treasure Andrew Yenser, the son of Drew Yenser and relative of Drew's classmate Director Wayne Wentz were not accurate.

Director Andrew Yenser, Treasurer, did not do his duty or honor his oath of office.
Director Andrew Yenser's responsibility was to verify the administration's data and yet he apparently chose to pass forward the lies with his rubber-stamped approval and blind-trust in their creation.

Drew Yesner should pull his son aside and help him write an apology to the people, offering his resignation. The Wentz, Yenser, Stern corruption cabal has to end. Letting the administration they were elected to oversee lie to the people is bad enough, but to add a rubberstamp approval using the family names of Yensers and Wentz's is poor form. Would you ever re-elect or 'hire' Andrew Yenser, Wayne Wentz or the likes of Larry Stern to watch your government's business? I hope not.

Any business owner that leaves the door open, and cash register open, blindly-trusting the moral character of those with access, is not noble or 'supporting the administration' it is just plain ignorant and stupid.

Check the enrollment projection difference between what the district told the community (ever-escalating) and what the district told the state (actually declining, and projected to continually decline for the next several years). Why two sets of opposing data?


Citizen David F. Bradley, Sr.

The question really is:

Will the people of Lehighton anonymously reach out to the Auditor General and provide testimony of how insiders have been milking this $40M trough of cash that is collected every year? Will the community that has been given this opportunity to share their voice actually use it?

I have found and shared my knowledge of actions done by the evildoers. I can look in the mirror and know I did my part to help a suffering community end the corruption and waste.

Will Director Andrew Yenser, Wayne Wentz, Rita Spinelli, Steve Holland, and Larry Stern come clean or will they obstruct transparency? Will they make pleas of immunity like Larry Stern did in his court documents? Will the family members that know the sins of the directors finally confess knowledge and protect the community? Time will tell.


Citizen David F. Bradley, Sr.

I vowed one term, one term only. That vow will be honored, as will my Oath of office.

Please ask your friends to contact Drew Yenser, father of Andrew Yenser. His grandkids will be part of the kids that carry this debt if they can afford to live here.

In the best interest of the Yenser family name, Drew should discuss his son's neglect of duty. Andrew Yenser is an experienced LASD Director and our past Treasurer who failed to honor his Oath of Office when he apparently failed to act with proper fidelity in overseeing his friends in the administration. 

Andrew and the other rubber stampers apparently lied when they buried this town in debt and expenditures. I hope the community chooses people with character next time.

Drew should get his son and his buddy Wayne Wentz to publically apologize and resign. They are both a disgrace to the Oath of office. Rita, Steve and Larry showed they failed this community as well. All the rubber stampers should resign!

Watch this rushed school sale with a critical on the 'bidder'. A triple net lease would have saved the district millions over the next ten years. Why didn't Andrew Yenser publically review all the options? He needs to resign.


Citizen David F. Bradley Sr.
You are certainly entitled to your opinion. Whether or not you are part of the administration, an employee of the district, or family or friend of the same or just uninformed remains to be seen. While I have disagreed with many of Dave Bradley's positions in the past, several important points that he has made have been proven to be fact. One of which is that you cannot continually take in less than you spend without consequences. Now we have the consequences. A tax hike and 4 million dollars added to the budget to cover the shortfall. None of which seemingly provides for the actual improved education of the students in the district. It only seems to cover the financial mismanagement of the majority board. Do the research. I have. It takes time, commitment and diligence.
Once the tax increase is found to be deficient, will the five bury this town further with a massive reassessment?

Budget is short on the local support (your pockets) by about 20%. $4M short on the ~$20M collected in local taxes.
A theatrical plea for your attention:

I knew an old town
That swallowed a lie
I don't know why
They swallowed the lie

I guess they will cry

I knew an old town
That floated a bond
They floated the bond
To fix the lie
I don't know why
They swallowed that lie

I know they will cry

I know and old town
That built a new school 
They thought it be cool to build a new school.

They built a new school
To consume the funds
They borrowed the funds to
Cover the lie
The created a lie I don't know why, but this town has begun to cry.

Debt piled high to cover the lie,  

Upon our children and upto the sky.

This board keeps spending without a clue, the predictions of pain all came true.

Thank you for reading this far. Theatrics garner attention and sometimes we all need a good poem to open the conversations.

They started with a lie, and hid the truth. Transparency is coming, but slowly as they are blaming me and the other guy. I created a balanced budget with a slight tax decrease, it meets all the State requirements for this government be solvent. 

Now, for the blunt truth. If we look at the district as a government of, by and for the people, we can meet the educational requirements without going insolvent. The path they are on is riddled with despair. A government can't actually go bankrupt, since they have taxpayers to pay for all their mistakes. The bond documents show these rubber-stampers were fools with our money. They pledged the full taxing authority of the government to the bond holders. The interest rates are escalating and the PSERS are crushing most about every district.

Purveyors of a peaceful reform we ask for their apology and resignation.
Let the wiser heads transparently make decisions with community oversight and approval. Together we can reform this back to a government of, by and for the people again. Rigid principles, and moral guidelines can navigate us to a sustainable community.  The system is set up that the taxpayers control the board, the board controls the administration and the administration handles the day to day. 

We have a real budget, with a slight tax decrease, but can not move forward while the government is controlled by these rubber stampers. The five that make up government gave their blind trust to the administration. They are blocking reforms with their block votes. Evil or stupid, the facts are the facts. And I say evil since we warned them repeatedly with facts upon facts. 

Talk to your neighbors, talk to your friends. Unsustainable consumption is a hard for the corrupt to correct. However, it is easy for those with character willing to serve the public. 

Contact me at
I welcome your input.


Citizen David F. Bradley Sr.

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