Education A State Capitals Roundup

Oregon Officials Investigate Spending on Youth Offenders

October 08, 2004 1 min read

Auditors for Oregon’s secretary of state are investigating former state department of education officials who allegedly spent almost $1 million allocated to classroom instruction on educational programs for young offenders released from jail.

John B. Pendergrass Jr., who was then the director of youth correctional education programs, and Steve Johnson, who served as associate superintendent for special education, were looking for new resources for their programs after the grant for offender transitional services expired in 2001.

“Our office provided legal advice indicating they could not be spending [department of education] money on specific programs,” said Kevin Neely, a spokesman for the office of the attorney general.

But the officials disregarded the attorney general’s advice, Mr. Neely said. He added that it was unclear whether that would be regarded as a criminal offense.