By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — The state auditor general says a just-released audit shows that management breakdowns have created a “dire” situation at the Chester Upland School District.

Pennsylvania auditor general Eugene DePasquale (at left in photo) says the audit shows failures on the academic side, including a dismal graduation rate, students who were graduated without meeting requirements, and employees whose professional certifications were not properly monitored.

On the financial side, DePasquale says, the district’s books were such a shambles that it’s hard to draw conclusions about spending.

He says the district even failed to accurately report the number of students, which may have resulted in underfunding by the state.

But DePasquale says he’s optimistic about the fact that the district’s court-appointed receiver, Joe Watkins, who stood beside the auditor general at a capitol press conference today, has embraced the findings.

“Instead of becoming defensive like so many people do with these type of things, he is committed 100-percent to working to try to change the culture in the school district,” DePasquale said.