School & District Management

Audit Alleges Education Leaders Council Misused Federal Grant, Urges Repayment

By Jessica L. Tonn — February 03, 2006 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The U.S. Department of Education has released an audit of the Education Leaders Council, charging that the Washington-based organization misused federal grant money for its Following the Leaders project.

Between July 1, 2002, and Dec. 31, 2004, the ELC received more than $23 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Education. The federal aid was for the ELC’s Following the Leaders school improvement program. Congress appropriated an additional $9.7 million for the project in the 2005 fiscal year, prompting critics to question the group’s spending habits and effectiveness.

The ELC was started in 1995 as a conservative-leaning national voice for school improvement.

The audit, released Jan. 31, also found that the organization “drew down and expended federal funds it was not entitled to.” In fiscal year 2003, ELC overdrew its grant by $495,326, which the report blames on inadequate controls within the organization.

In addition, more than 28 percent of the grant costs reviewed in the audit were either questioned or unsupported, the report said. Among the $232,000 in questionable costs were expenditures for meals, entertainment, and travel that did not appear to be related to the Follow the Leaders project. Also noted by the report were expenses that federal grants cannot be used for, such as alcoholic beverages, advertising, and fundraising.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Inspector General’s Office, which conducted the audit, recommended that the department require ELC to reimburse the nearly $500,000 in grant money that it overdrew, and either refund or provide adequate documentation for the spending that was questioned in the report. The office also asked that ELC maintain evidence that all of its employees have reviewed the policies and procedures for using the federal grant money.

In Dec. 2005, ELC submitted a response to the first draft of the audit, claiming that the group had “long since corrected many of the accounting entries, a fact which is given minimal attention in this report.”

Though officials representing ELC could not be reached for comment on the final audit report, they have 30 days to reply to the department.

Related Tags:

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Start Strong With Solid SEL Implementation: Success Strategies for the New School Year
Join Satchel Pulse to learn why implementing a solid SEL program at the beginning of the year will deliver maximum impact to your students.
Content provided by Satchel Pulse
Teaching Live Online Discussion Seat at the Table: How Can We Help Students Feel Connected to School?
Get strategies for your struggles with student engagement. Bring questions for our expert panel. Help students recover the joy of learning.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Science Webinar
Real-World Problem Solving: How Invention Education Drives Student Learning
Hear from student inventors and K-12 teachers about how invention education enhances learning, opens minds, and preps students for the future.
Content provided by The Lemelson Foundation

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Why Principals Must Focus on SEL, School Climate Right Now
Principals need support in focusing on SEL, academic development, school climate, and community engagement, a new report argues.
6 min read
Image of a leader reflecting on past and future.
akindo/DigitalVision Vectors
School & District Management School Districts Showcase What's Working to Improve Student Learning
School leaders from 13 districts shared strategies at a national summit by AASA, the School Superintendents Association.
3 min read
David Schuler, superintendent of High School District 214 near Chicago, Ill., speaks about college and career readiness during a presentation at AASA's first annual Learning 2025 Summit on Tuesday, June 28, 2022, in Washington, D.C. High School District 214 is one of 13 "lighthouse" districts that were recognized for innovative work to improve school systems.
David Schuler, superintendent of High School District 214 near Chicago, speaks about college and career readiness at a summit in Washington.
Libby Stanford/Education Week
School & District Management Schools Prefer Cheaper Ventilation Options to Curb COVID: Why They Should Consider Upgrading
Most schools are opening windows and hosting class outdoors rather than investing in costlier, more-effective measures.
2 min read
Students from PS 11 Elementary School participate in art projects and interactive activities, during an after-school outdoor program held in the High Line park in New York, NY, October 21, 2020.
Students from PS 11 Elementary School participate in art projects and interactive activities during an after-school outdoor program in New York City in 2020. Many schools are opting for outdoor classes and other-low cost measures to maintain healthy air quality during the pandemic.
Anthony Behar/Sipa via AP Images
School & District Management Interactive Hour by Busy Hour: What a Principal's Day Actually Looks Like
From the time they wake up until they set the alarm at night, school leaders juggle the routine, the unexpected, and the downright bizarre.
Left, Principal Michael C. Brown talks on a radio at Winters Mill High School in Westminster, Md., on May 17, 2022. Right, Boone Elementary School principal Manuela Haberer directs students and parents in the pick-up line at the conclusion of the school day on May 19, 2022 in San Antonio, Texas.
Left, Principal Michael C. Brown talks on a radio at Winters Mill High School in Westminster, Md., on May 17, 2022. Right, Boone Elementary School principal Manuela Haberer directs students and parents in the pick-up line at the conclusion of the school day on May 19, 2022 in San Antonio, Texas.
From left, Steve Ruark and Lisa Krantz for Education Week