Board of Education Releases Inspector General Report
Today the Board of Education publicly released the Inspector General’s Report commissioned to investigate the major renovation project at Benjamin Franklin High School and Science Leadership Academy that led to the closure of their shared campus in October 2019.
“The Board felt it was crucial to have an independent investigation and to share the Inspector General’s report with the public, so Board members and community members clearly understand what went wrong and what steps the District is taking to rectify the issues cited in the report and to ensure they do not occur in the future,” said Board President Joyce Wilkerson.
The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is an independent office within the School District of Philadelphia that reports directly to the Board of Education. The OIG’s mission is to promote integrity within the District and to assist the District and the Board in ensuring oversight of taxpayer funds. The Office is also responsible for conducting independent investigations into referrals and complaints regarding corruption, fraud, criminal activity, waste, abuse and mismanagement.
The OIG report issues 11 recommendations which the District is currently in the process of implementing to prevent such a situation from developing in future School District construction projects.
“As I’ve shared before, I deeply regret how the project unfolded and the significant, negative impact it had on the students and staff of both school communities,” said Superintendent William R. Hite, Jr., Ed.D. “As the report acknowledges, we have already taken numerous actions to improve the way we plan, design and manage construction projects. We will continue to use the information and insights from this report to help guide our operational improvement efforts and avoid similar mistakes in the future.”
The OIG conducted a lengthy review of the project to co-locate Benjamin Franklin High School and Science Leadership Academy into a single building. Investigators spoke to dozens of witnesses from the schools themselves, contractors and various District personnel involved with the work that occurred during the renovation. The OIG requested and reviewed several hundred internal District documents and thousands of internal electronic communications associated with the project.
After this report was drafted, the OIG gave the district an opportunity to respond. Any response or objections raised are included with this report as attachments.
For more information, read the entire report here.