Eight school districts and one community project improperly used federal grant funds under the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program to pay for food, field trips, and personnel costs not associated with grant work, the Department of Education’s inspector general’s office has concluded in a report.
The Oct. 22 report reviewed spending by 10 grantees that received 21st Century grants between 1998 and 2003. The Alum Rock Union Elementary School District in San Jose, Calif.; the Baltimore school district; the Gonzalez Unified School District in Gonzales, Calif.; the Mt. Judea Public School in Mt. Judea, Ark.; and Project After School and Community Enrichment for a New Direction in Drew, Miss., were cited in the report for unallowable expenditures of grant funds.
Four other grantees—the East Cleveland, Ohio, district; Community Consolidated School District No. 62 in Des Plaines, Ill.; the New York City district; and the Elk Grove Unified School District in Elk Grove, Calif.—drew more money than they spent from the grants, auditors said. The Elk Grove district was cited for the highest amount in unsupported costs—$643,000 on a grant of $3.3 million.
The report found that the grantees also could not provide documents to show that costs charged to the grant were reasonable. It wasn’t clear whether any of the districts had appealed their specific audit findings.
The report made recommendations about providing better information to grantees on the requirements they must follow.
Myrna Loy-Corley, superintendent of the East Cleveland district, said she took over in August, after the period covered by the report. She said she would take the necessary action needed to respond to the audit.
“I can assure you that under my superintendency we will adhere to the mandates of all grants,” she said.