GAO: D.C. Public Schools Struggle to Document use of Federal Funds

Published: Nov 18, 2010

Report finds lack of accountability after move to kill Opportunity Scholarships for D.C. school children

WASHINGTON, DC – The Government Accountability Office today released a report critical of D.C. Public schools (DCPS), which found that while policies for monitoring contractor performance exist on paper, these policies do not cover how to do the monitoring and were not consistently followed in real world situations.

“The D.C. Public School system continues business as usual and is plagued by a lack of accountability,” said Rep. Darrell Issa. “With teachers unions having succeeded in cutting off Opportunity Scholarships, it’s deeply troubling that poor D.C. school children have no alternatives for getting an education.”

According to the GAO report:

[Office of the State Superintendent of Education] OSSE officials reported having established some policies and procedures for monitoring its grant recipients, but, with one exception, these were not documented. Furthermore, the procedures as explained to us by OSSE were not consistently followed. OSSE did create a list of information that program staff are to acquire from grantees. However, the grant files we reviewed often lacked evidence that staff collected this information or performed other monitoring activities. Specifically, most of the files did not include all the narrative and financial reports as required by OSSE in many of their grant agreements. Also, few included any record indicating that staff had followed-up to obtain such documents.

The GAO report was requested by Republican Leader John Boehner, Rep. Darrell Issa, Rep. John Kline, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Sen. Thad Cochran, Sen. George Voinovich, Sen. John Ensign, and Sen. Lamar Alexander. It examined the use of $190 million in federal funds used by OSSE and DCPS between 2004 and 2009. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee exercises legislative jurisdiction over the District of Columbia.

Click here to read the GAO report.


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