The U.S. Department of Education has placed restrictions on money approved by Congress for the nonprofit Education Leaders Council, which has been criticized by some of its own former board members for its financial practices. (“Education Leaders Council Undergoing Major Changes,” Sept. 23, 2004.)
“They have been designated as a high-risk grantee, and so the drawing down of their funds has special conditions on it,” Chad Colby, an Education Department spokesman, said last week. “They have to show receipts and get approval before they receive any [more] money.”
The ELC, founded in 1995 as an alternative to the Council of Chief State School Officers, has received about $32.7 million in federal money since 2001. Most has gone to its Following the Leaders project, which provides computer-based benchmark tests and lessons for some 600 public schools.
In April, the Washington-based organization confirmed that the Education Department’s office of inspector general was conducting an audit of the group, which it described as routine.
Theodor Rebarber, the chief executive officer of the ELC, said in an e-mail last week that the group has worked to ensure proper financial controls and to follow federal regulations concerning its funding. The ELC is working “to resolve any remaining past issues in a satisfactory manner,” he wrote.
A version of this article appeared in the September 28, 2005 edition of Education Week