Several deficiencies identified during a 1996 audit of Hawaii's After-School Plus (A+) Program, a key initiative of Democratic Gov. Benjamin J. Cayetano's, have not been resolved, according to a recently released report conducted by state Auditor Marion M. Higa.
While the state education department, which runs the program, has made some improvements, it continues to have problems limiting the program to eligible students, hiring qualified staff members, and enforcing fiscal policies, says the report, released Oct. 30.
The audit estimates that 2,700 ineligible students were enrolled in the program during the 1997-98 school year, costing the state $364,000.
It also recommends training for the program's staff members and disciplinary action against those who don't comply.
The department responded that it is committed to providing a high-quality program and will remove program coordinators when necessary.
The program, which provides after-school care to children in grades K-6, served about 22,500 students at 177 public school sites last school year.
Wyoming Gov. Jim Geringer recently offered a $100,000 loan to help bail the Dubois school district out of an unexpected financial crisis.
The troubles in the district, which is located in a rural area 80 miles east of Jackson, arose when its final budget fell short of state estimates by $272,000, or 11.4 percent. State education officials are working with a new funding formula, adopted by the legislature last spring to comply with a 1994 state supreme court ruling that declared the old system unconstitutional.
"We've had to reduce out classified personnel and just about had to cut back on all travel," said Vince Zimmer, the superintendent of the 300-student district.
Mary Kay Hill, the Republican governor's policy director said although 26 of the state's 48 districts received less money than planned, Dubois was the only district where the gap between anticipated funds and actual funds was more than 5 percent.
The Dubois school board plans to decide this week whether to accept the terms of the loan.
--Linda Jacobson & Jessica L. Sandham
Vol. 18, Issue 11, Page 13