When asked about an IRS audit that incurred significant penalties to the city of Boston, Mayor Marty Walsh laid the blame on Superintendent Tommy Chang. 

“I didn’t get the findings myself until last week,” Walsh told reporters. “The superintendent had the findings. The School Department had the findings. I didn’t have them."

But Paul Reville, a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and former state Secretary of Education, said there are some unanswered questions about who in City Hall knew about the audit, and when.

"A lot of things that have been pointed out raise serious questions about the way the schools are managing the student activities fund," Reville told Boston Public Radio.

"However, I think we have to hold out some skepticism here in terms of what we've heard so far and ask further questions about who knew what and when they knew it," he continued. "When you look at this $1 million penalty, only $30,000 had to do with the schools. The balance of it really comes from the city, as far as I can see."

Of the $1 million total in penalties levied by the IRS against the city, $28,000 were attributed to Boston Public Schools for paying employees under-the-table out of student activity funds and other "bad accounting practices," including not keeping track of reimbursements to outside vendors,WGBH News reported Tuesday. 

However, $700,000 in penalties were related to the city's failure to properly deduct Medicare and other payroll taxes from the paychecks of city employees, The Boston Globe reported.The city wrote a check to the IRS on Nov. 7 — Election Day — also according to The Globe.

Reville said the timing of the check suggests that knowledge of the audit went beyond the school department.

"It's clear the city knew about this a long time ago," he said. "It's not just the school department and the school department didn't inform the mayor. The city knew about it a long time and, in fact, the city office has been negotiating with the IRS over the penalties, not the school department, and that negotiation was wrapped up Nov. 2."

Reville expressed concern that the Walsh Administration was unfairly leveling the blame entirely on Chang.

"I worry there could be some scapegoating going on," he said.

Click the audio player above to hear more from Paul Reville.