By Suzanne Monaghan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Pennsylvania’s Auditor General says the Pennsylvania Department of Education gave more than $2.5-million in questionable lease reimbursements to nine charter schools, including one in Delaware County.

More than $1-million in questionable reimbursements were paid to the Chester Community Charter School and state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale says the total amount paid statewide could easily be up to $15 million going back to 2002:

“The Pennsylvania Department of Education, what we saw from the propel audit and other audits is literally allowing millions of dollars to be diverted away from classrooms.”

Under the guidelines, buildings owned by the Charter School are not eligible for lease reimbursement.

“And what we found in some of our audits,” adds DePasquale, “is that the same people who own and operate charter schools, they themselves create separate legal entities to own the buildings and lease them to charter schools.”

DePasquale says that’s a loophole in the law that needs to be closed immediately.