Sunday, November 3, 2013

Gloucester, VA School Board, Federal and State Grants (Part 4)

Armand A. Fusco, Ed.D.

About the Yankee Institute for Public Policy

The Yankee Institute for Public Policy, Inc. is a nonpartisan educational and research organization
founded more than two decades ago. Today, the Yankee Institute’s mission is to “promote
economic opportunity through lower taxes and new ideas for better government in Connecticut.”

Question 4: Federal and State Grants 

How are grants being managed in the school district? Who is responsible for
monitoring the grants for proper implementation? How is the monitoring actually

Background: Grants are another common and significant source of
corrupt acts. There are two types of grants: entitlement (specific dollar amounts
allocated to a district for specific reasons) and competitive (schools are not
required to apply for such grants). All too often, districts do not take advantage
of the latter because they involve extra effort and work -- a poor excuse
considering the additional resources such grants could provide.

It is extremely important to note that grant monies cannot be used to
replace previously budgeted dollars. The monies must be used as an add-on to
the budget. One common grant abuse is that schools use funds to supplant
the budget (replace previous budgeted dollars) -- a corrupt act. What must
also be reviewed very carefully is to see who has received any of the monies.

Since grants usually do not involve local dollars (some do require
matching funds or resources), local oversight is shoddy at best. State and
federal education bureaucrats are responsible for monitoring the grants, but
are too often ineffective in uncovering mismanagement and fraud. This is why
grants dollars are abused so easily.  

Proposed Solution: During each budget presentation, a list of all grants
that were available to the school district should be listed, as well as the dollar
amounts involved. Next to each should be indicated whether the grant was
applied for and whether it was approved (with dollar amounts). If some were
not applied for, the reason should be given. The State Department of Education
will also have a list of all such grants (unless they are foundation grants).

Approved grants are public documents and must be forensically
examined to determine whether they are and have been used for the purpose
intended. If funds have not been spent according to the grant application, the
reasons must be given.

Any citizen can sue the district (as a person) if federal grant dollars have
been misused and receive a third of the recovered amount. School Corruption:
Betrayal of Children and the Public Trust gives the citation of the unanimous
U.S. Supreme Court ruling on this issue.

This is part 4 in our 10 part series on avoiding school corruption.  It's time to ask a lot of questions.
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