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New Orleans Schools Face State Oversight

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The New Orleans school district, which has failed to properly account for the spending of federal Title I money, should be placed under the authority of a state oversight committee, Cecil J. Picard, the Louisiana state superintendent of education, said last week.

Mr. Picard made a presentation to the Orleans Parish school board, which will vote on Feb. 28 on a “memorandum of understanding” formalizing his plan for clearing up the financial problems that have plagued the district for years.

The arrangement would involve combining the ongoing effort, led by the state legislative auditor, to sort out the district’s finances with a new effort to address problems with the federal money.

An audit by the U.S. Department of Education’s office of inspector general found that the 62,000-student district has not properly administered some $71 million in Title I money for disadvantaged students since the 2001-02 school year, Mr. Picard told the board.

He said that the district’s finances are “in such a sad state of affairs” that federal officials are threatening to withhold any further payments.

Torin Sanders, the president of the school board, did not return a call for comment.

Vol. 24, Issue 24, Page 4

Published in Print: February 23, 2005, as New Orleans Schools Face State Oversight

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