- Grant fraud is a significant issue affecting every grant-making federal agency. Elements of an effective strategy to combat grant fraud include deterrence, training, and education and oversight. The Grant Fraud Committee has developed this White Paper to identify effective practices and to help assist agencies and OIGs in their efforts to combat grant fraud.
Now, as we see below the first reaction to fraud is to label the program wasteful since it cannot achieve its goals because the funds never arrived. Also, the directors of these national private education non-profits are often not parents or people from the community----they are appointed by institutions or corporations like Johns Hopkins or Exelon. The problem with fraud is that oversight and accountability was not built in to the distribution process-----not that the program was not a good one. How does Federal money go to a private contractor or non-profit with no oversight? THAT IS THE QUESTION!
Fixing the Focus on Fraud in Preschool Special Education
Public News Service - NY | December 2012 | Download audio
PHOTO: This poster is being used by advocates for preschool special education programs - warning that fraud investigations could lead to diminished funding for valuable service. Photo courtesy Alliance for Quality Education
December 14, 2012ALBANY, N.Y. –"Punish the crooks, not the kids."
That's the rallying cry of parents and advocates worried about New York's preschool special education programs that are under an investigative microscope.
The state comptroller is pursuing operators of special education providers who are accused of wasting, misspending or pocketing money.
Advocates of preschool special education say finding fraud is fine. But, Kim Sweet , executive director of the group Advocates for Children of New York, says some new and proposed changes in the wake of the investigations could hinder the funding for services.
"We are concerned about throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The opportunity to reach children when they're three and four is really very fleeting and if we squander it we're not going to be able to get it back."
Sweet says the state has put a moratorium on new programs and the expansion of existing ones. The result is children on waiting lists for services that help young children with developmental delays prepare for school.
Talina Jones of Syracuse says it would be a shame if children were deprived of services such as those that helped her eight-year-old son with Down syndrome progress in school.
"He goes to his elementary school in his community and he is not in a segregated setting. This is absolutely because of receiving preschool special education services."
Sweet says advocates have a six-point set of recommendations to protect the preschool special education program.
"It's very important to realize that this is not a failed program. There has been fraud that's been found. We have to deal with the fraud, we have to prevent future fraud, but we don't have to destroy the program."
The state spends $2 billion each year to provide special services and classroom instruction to 37,000 children with disabilities. In New York City, some audits of special education providers have led to arrests for felony fraud.
We know that charter schools are not public-----they have been given so many exemptions from what makes a public school public. One issue is the transparency of finances for charters----where they get the money and how they use it. So, when you have Federal and state grants going to charters as public schools and you have private donors handing individual charters single donations with no transparency----you have created the environment for fraud and Obama and your Congressional and Maryland Assembly person knows this! They are Clinton Wall Street neo-liberals thinking only of how to move public money to corporate profit so they do not care. This does not happen with all charters of course---often the national chains are the culprit----and it is good to know that public schools being forced to run themselves as businesses as in Baltimore are more likely to fall to the corporate culture of fraud.
Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Among Charter Schools
By dianeravitch July 20, 2014 // Here is the latest federal government report on fraud, waste, and abuse in the charter sector. It was released in May 2014 by the Center for Popular Democracy and Integrity in Education.
The most common type of fraud identified was embezzlement.
CHARTER SCHOOL VULNERABILITIES TO WASTE, FRAUD, AND ABUSE
With the increase in funding that schools are receiving through the Recovery Act, we issued a report that highlighted past OIG investigations involving fraud at charter schools. The report brought to the Department’s attention our concern about vulnerabilities in the oversight of charter schools. Since 2005, OIG has opened more than 40 criminal investigations at charter schools, which have thus far resulted in 18 indictments and 15 convictions of charter school officials. Charter schools generally operate as independent entities that are subject to oversight by an LEA or authorized chartering agency. Our investigations have found, however, that LEAs or chartering agencies often fail to provide adequate oversight needed to ensure that Federal funds are properly used and accounted for. The type of fraud we identified generally involves embezzlement. The schemes that are used to accomplish this are varied. For example, we have found cases where charter school executives falsely increased their schools’ child count, thus increasing the funding levels from which to embezzle. We also identified an alleged grade changing scheme that allowed failing students to pass in order to ensure that the school met Adequate Yearly Progress, which allowed the school to continue operating, thus continuing a funding scheme from which to embezzle. We have also unraveled schemes where owners or employees of the charter schools created companies to which they diverted school funds and misused school credit cards for personal expenditures. Our report provided examples of investigative cases involving charter schools. The Department generally agreed with our observations and expressed interest in working with OIG in determining how to enhance, when appropriate, its policies and monitoring processes involving charter schools.
This article written in 2001 shows the level of fraud in the US Department of Education that existed back then----this is right after the Clinton Administration. It is absurd to have Bush accuse Clinton of allowing widespread fraud as Bush super-sized fraud throughout his terms----only he wanted the fraud to go to his friends and they probably didn't run private education corporations. The point is that the amounts lost to education from fraud are huge and this new practice of having all Federal and state funding of education go directly to the private contractor or non-profit should make all parents concerned. PLEASE AUDIT YOUR SCHOOL'S BUDGET AND FUNDING AS WITH SCHOOL BOARD DISTRIBUTIONS. WHEN CORPORATE POLS WANT TO MAKE BUSINESSES OF SCHOOLS---THEY WILL BUILD THE CULTURE OF FRAUD IN WITH IT!
Massive Fraud in Education Department
Reed Irvine and Cliff Kincaid — April 23, 2001
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Senate liberals have scaled back President Bush’s proposed $1.6 trillion tax cut because they want to spend more of the taxpayers’ money on domestic programs, including the federal Department of Education. But President Bush also wants to spend more on education. He has proposed a $44.5 billion budget for the education department, an 11.5 percent increase over the budget proposal for this year.
But one day before the White House and the Senate agreed to spend more on education, an extraordinary congressional hearing revealed that the education department has failed three consecutive audits and that about half a billion dollars has been mismanaged or lost through fraud and abuse. An Associated Press story about the hearing quoted a member of Congress as saying that the education department’s financial practices are like those of “a Third World republic.” George Archibald of The Washington Times reported that the Bush Administration had inherited a “financial nightmare.”
That story was on page 6, and the Washington Post covered the hearing back on page 21. The Post noted that the amount of missing money could reach $6 billion. However, the evening news programs of the three major networks completely ignored the hearing. This is a travesty because education spending has become the new sacred cow, with Republicans and Democrats believing that more federal spending will somehow cause children to learn more. It’s a far cry from the time when President Reagan had called for the abolition of the education department.
The department that is supposed to help teach kids math hasn’t been able to pass a basic audit of its finances for three straight years. This means that auditors can’t verify where the money is going. An official from the General Accounting Office said that the education department’s student financial assistance programs are a “high-risk area for waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement,” and that this has been the case for over ten years — since 1990. Twenty-one education department employees wrote a total of 19,000 checks in one year, without any other approval, totaling $23 million.
One area of abuse is government purchase cards used by hundreds of agency employees. In one year, education department employees charged over $8 million in purchases. But it’s not clear how much of this was legitimate. Some of the items, including computers, software, cell phones and Internet service, could have been diverted to employees’ personal use. The Inspector General of the agency said that seven individuals have plead guilty to theft of government property and conspiracy in connection with the abuse of $1.9 million of education department grants intended for two school districts in South Dakota.
Another area of abuse is the system that disburses grants. The agency itself discovered eight cases of duplicate payments that totaled $198 million in two and one-half years. The Inspector General found another 13 cases totaling $55 million. The Republicans in charge of the hearing expressed the hope that the Bush Administration and its new Secretary of Education, Rod Paige, would “turn things around.” But Congressman Charlie Norwood said he thinks the agency ought to be shut down until the financial problems are resolved.
We can expect lots of fraud in this new system of health care and wellness delivered to public schools through Medicaid by private contractors and non-profits. In Baltimore I already hear from parents that the 'Wellness programs' funded by Federal grants are useless or do not exist. This idea of consolidating services in schools is not a bad one-----but there is a history of saying one thing and having it not happen. These kinds of policies are what take our school nurses and health aids out of schools with the idea that these mobile health units will take the place. So far, I don't hear parents shouting that this is working!
School consultant hit with Medicaid-fraud lawsuit
Updated 4:54 pm, Thursday, December 4, 2014
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The state attorney general's office has filed a Medicaid-fraud lawsuit against a Wenatchee-based company for reportedly providing fraudulent training to dozens of school districts around the state.
In the lawsuit filed Thursday in Thurston County Superior Court, Attorney General Bob Ferguson said the fraudulent training led to tens of millions of dollars in false Medicaid claims.
The lawsuit was filed against Thomas and Sheila Reese, their company, JT Educational Consultants, and several employees and contractors. An email to the company seeking comment was not immediately returned Thursday afternoon.
The same company consulted with the Centralia School District, which settled related Medicaid fraud allegations for $372,000 in July.
Ferguson said the company did not help school districts obtain reimbursement for legitimate costs incurred while helping Medicaid eligible students. Instead, it caused districts to file false claims and received millions of dollars in consulting fees, beginning in 2005, he said.
The lawsuit says it is targeting a group of individuals, including former school administrators and employees, "who built a grossly profitable consulting business by marketing a corrupted version of this program."
When the state moved toward implementing a computer-based system to help school districts with their claims, JT Educational Consultants opposed the effort, according to the lawsuit. The old, paper-based system was essential to their enterprise, the lawsuit stated.
I wanted to start with the truth that education fraud and Federal grant fraud is still widespread as we start to look more closely at what Baltimore City School Board is doing with education policy. Tomorrow I will refresh everyone's memory as to why Baltimore City had its schools turned over to the state......this is a common occurrence these days.....and what need be done to bring control back. For those new to this the year was 1997 and the mayor was Schmoke. Think what was happening in 1997-----Clinton was in the process of privatizing university campuses and Wall Street was making models of a privatized K-12. Cities all had urban Master Plans for development that had the poor and working class moved out----and the affluent and corporations moving in to downtown real estate. Reagan and Clinton had defunded public schools to a point that Federal funding for these urban schools left them in this state at the end of Clinton's terms. Clinton wanted to privatize public education and defunding them was the start to pushing them to default. All of the crumbling schools and underfunded classrooms started with the small government mission of these Wall Street neo-liberals. So, Reagan cut education in the late 1980s and Clinton did it again shortly after being elected and this is why city schools went into decline. Not the only reason----but Clinton wanted to privatize public schools and first came starving them of revenue.
1995 spending cuts signed by Clinton Article Abstract:
Pres Clinton signed a bill into law on Jul 27, 1995, that calls for cuts of $16.3 billion more than the budget in FY 1995. The bill keeps funding for education, job training and environmental programs, but makes deep cuts in them. Housing and national service programs have also been cut.
Publisher: Facts on File, Inc.
Publication Name: Facts on File
Subject: Business, general
Read more: http://www.readabstracts.com/Business-general/1995-spending-cuts-signed-by-Clinton-Balanced-budget-amendment-blocked-by-Senate-Democrats.html#ixzz3LQfQ7ORV
This is why the article below speaks to cities across America struggling with school funding. It is true the population base of cities took a drastic turn as in Baltimore----but the funding mechanism for public schools could have been maintained.
Handing city school control to the state for a few million dollars. As you see no one saw that as a good deal back then-----and we don't see it as good today.
'My colleague Gregory Kane, City Council President Lawrence A. Bell III and the local PTA are among many who complain of the city's giving up autonomy for a "measly" -- Kane's word -- $254 million. He's got the measly part right'.
If no takeover, back to courts Schools: If the state-city "partnership" legislation fails in the General Assembly, precedents in other cities suggest that Baltimore could lose even more control over its public schools.
The Education BeatMarch 26, 1997|By Mike Bowler | Mike Bowler,SUN STAFF
AS STATE lawmakers struggle with the Baltimore City school problem, they ought to ask themselves this question: If the state-city "partnership" legislation is rejected, what's next?
The city might be able to stand the "loss" of $254 million during the next five years.
That's the amount the state would add to the city education budget in return for management reform that gives some -- but by no means all -- power over city schools to the governor and the state superintendent of schools.
But the money has to be found before it can be lost. Anyway, it's a drop in the bucket if you consider the real need of Baltimore schools. Spread over five years, the $254 million is even more diluted. Call it the pittance that a politically weakened city could wrest from a reluctant state.
Baltimore is already educationally bankrupt. City and state officials conceded as much in remarkably candid remarks at a national conference sponsored in Baltimore last month by the Education Commission of the States, an education clearinghouse based in Denver. They recited the familiar statistics: 50 of the city's 180 schools are eligible for state takeover, and more are on the way. Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke testified he had come to endorse the partnership because he realized that the system was "unresponsive" and he "could not get at" aspects of management.
The long struggle in state and federal courts over financing and managing Baltimore schools "has been the equivalent of trench warfare," the mayor said.
If the legislation fails, it's back to the courts in May -- back to trench warfare, in other words.
In what mood will we find state Judge Joseph H. H. Kaplan and federal Judge Marvin J. Garbis, who had offered to wipe the litigation slate clean in return for the reform package being kicked around this week in Annapolis?
Everyone close to the situation knows that Garbis had been particularly annoyed at Superintendent Walter G. Amprey's failure to carry out his orders in the 13-year-old special education case and that the judge came within an eyelash of placing the whole caboodle in receivership.
It's instructive to look at other cities where schools are in similar bankruptcy. In Cleveland, state Superintendent John Goff took over the city schools in 1995 with all powers except to levy taxes and close buildings.
Goff told the Baltimore hearing that he found a system with "horrible facilities," heavy debt and a graduation rate of 33 percent. He also had to deal with the third federal judge to rule on Cleveland's desegregation plan, roughly equivalent to Baltimore's long-running special education case. Goff said he was "very cynical" about the intent of interest groups, who make it almost impossible to get agreement on actions. "Urban districts are all about money and power," he declared.
The Ohio Supreme Court ruled Monday that the state's funding formula is unconstitutional, that the quality of a child's education is "dependent on the vicissitudes of geography -- that is, the place of the child's birth or residence." That observation applies to Baltimore as well, but if the Maryland case returns to state Circuit Court in May, it will take years (and millions of dollars in lawyers' fees) for appeals to be exhausted.
Two other bankruptcy "models" are in New Jersey, where Paterson, Newark and Jersey City schools are operated outright by the state, and in Chicago, where Mayor Richard M. Daley got sweeping managerial control over schools from the Illinois legislature two years ago.
Daley appointed a chief operating officer and a superboard to replace the existing board of education. Former City Hall staff members dominate the top levels of the new school bureaucracy. The Chicago experiment has had good reviews so far, but would it work in Baltimore? Would the General Assembly cede such authority to the city's mayor? Not likely.
The point is, of the responses to educational bankruptcy -- 22 states allow intervention, according to the education commission -- the one proposed for Baltimore is mild by comparison.
It's one of the few that would grant some local control and require state-city cooperation.
My colleague Gregory Kane, City Council President Lawrence A. Bell III and the local PTA are among many who complain of the city's giving up autonomy for a "measly" -- Kane's word -- $254 million. He's got the measly part right. But the situation is such that Baltimoreans are likely to give up all authority over their schools if House Bill 312 fails.
And so came the Maryland Assembly bill that took control of Baltimore schools with its plan to improve quality. Remember, the timing of this takeover was tied to the Master Plan in Baltimore and the need to rebuild public education in the city in order to gentrify city center.......
What we do not see is any sign of reverting the school system back to Baltimore City. If you look below there is an assessment of progress that gave this takeover marks of improvement in 2004 but as anyone can see even today-----and especially if you talk to parents and students----there is little improvement from this 1997 transition to state. I will show attempts to reclaim these schools and we need to know----The point for most in the city is that the people appointed by the state to the Baltimore Board of Education have a goal that goes beyond getting the school system back on track----they are privatizing the public schools and using them as gentrification tools-----having nothing to do with quality.
THIS MAY BE WHAT CLINTON HAD AS A GOAL WHEN HE DEFUNDED EDUCATION----BUT IT IS NOT WHAT THE CITIZENS OF BALTIMORE WANT TO SEE OF THEIR SCHOOLS.
Dismantling equal protection and opportunity and access to education in a city that is a majority black is a huge issue and this was the motive I'm sure behind Schmoke handing the school system over to the state for very little revenue.
WHEN WILL THESE SCHOOLS COME BACK TO BALTIMORE CITY?
There is nothing wrong with shaking up the status quo if a system is failing----but the goals and timeline need to be set----not continue on indefinitely.
A New Era of School Reform page 1, 2, 3, 4
(Page 1 of 4)
Thus, in April 1997, the state legislature passed Senate Bill 795, a 50-page document dictating broad reforms of the . A new, nine-member Board of School Commissioners was jointly appointed by the governor and the mayor to lead and execute the reforms over a five-year period. Architects of the reform were to entrust a $700 million budget, 14,000 employees, 182 schools, and 109,000 children to these managers with top-flight backgrounds.
In return for complying with the various mandates and deadlines laid out in the bill, the board would win $254 million in additional state funding for the school system. The new city-state partnership made the schools CEO accountable to the state legislature, instead of local politicians. The settlement of the lawsuit was far from perfect, but it deserved support.
Aside from the newly constituted school board, the agreement also included a more generous match of capital funds than before. Instead of having to come up with 25 percent of what the state offers in construction dollars–which some counties have had to reject for a lack of matching funds–the city can access up to $20 million in state capital financing with only 10 percent, or $2 million, in matching funds.
Also, the city will be forgiven any past errors in its system-wide enrollment estimates. That will give Baltimore more money than the current per-student funding formulas would allow if the counts were accurate, which was not the case.
The entire state’s economy is dependent upon a strong Baltimore school system. Willingness to use the state’s wealth to help the city was sheer prudence–for the sake of the children. What could be more important than that.
By June, the list of candidates for interim chief of Baltimore City’s public schools had been narrowed down to three–two executives and a former state schools administrator. The interim leader would have to merge the divided general education and special education services into a single school government; establish the school system’s parent advisory board; and replace administrative staff who have retired or departed during the transition.
Schools would have to be readied for the fall. Top ranks of the system would have to be reorganized. Projects proposed by New School Board members, including a survey of structural conditions of every school, would have to be launched. On the other hand, the interim chief would have little opportunity to institute long-term change, and by law could not be considered for the permanent job.
As a result of the tight deadlines, the school board knew that it could not wait until a new chief was in place to start major initiatives; it would have to choose a (temporary) leader who would be a very strong manager and who would see this as a challenge.
There were other motives, too. Several negotiators wanted to ensure that former Superintendent Walter G. Amprey and members of his administration would not inherit the new post. As a result of fears that the old guard would become the interim management, a law was drafted to block them from permanent leadership. Many negotiators also wanted to ensure that the temporary CEO would focus on the work at hand, rather than competing for the permanent position.
On Thursday, June 26, 1997, longtime educator Robert E. Schiller was named the interim chief executive of Baltimore City public schools. He had plenty on his plate–from getting the system of 109,000 students ready for a new academic year in September to negotiating a new contract with unionized teachers. His real job, however, was to be the tough guy who did the dirty work so that when a permanent CEO was appointed, that new chief would not have to squander initial goodwill by making necessary but unpopular moves.
When he arrived in Baltimore, Schiller found an abysmal tableau of declining student test scores at many schools; a rise in reported school crime; and a high school drop-out rate of 50 percent. This played out against a backdrop of increased spending and an ever-expanding–and seemingly ever more ineffectual–North Avenue bureaucracy.
When Robert Schiller met the newly appointed city school board, he hit the ground running. One month into his 90-day stint as interim schools chief, Schiller submitted to the Board of School Commissioners a state-of-the-system report of sorts, and it did not paint a pretty picture:
There was no baseline data showing where kids stood in reading and math, but fifth graders were not learning geometry and statistics, and the state said they should.
There was no full accounting of expenditures, but the school system would close out the books with a deficit of more than $8-12 million for 1997.
There was a glut of teachers (mostly secondary ones), many of whom were not certified for the subjects they were teaching, and there was no measure for evaluating teachers and zero relationship between their titles and pay–prompting Schiller to liken the school system to “a jobs program for 12,000 people” and to declare he’s “never been in an organization where people ignored the law.”
I flash forward to the schools mentioned at the start taken into state control at the same time Baltimore City Schools were to see states that are giving that pathway and they are doing so because citizens are becoming angry that major school policy changes that have huge implications are being made with no input from the citizens of these cities AND THAT IS NOT CONSTITUTIONAL.
The mass closings of schools in Baltimore with the promise of higher funding for the remaining schools has not happened as promised. I'll talk of the Thornton Plan next time.
Keep in mind that the success of Baltimore City Schools was hampered by revenue and as we know fraud and corruption in these schools pre-1997 was high. Ergo, simply rebuilding oversight and accountability in the school system would have bolstered education funding in Baltimore. Yet, we are still without much oversight and accountability other than test scores brought to us by Race to the Top. The slashing of staff and the decentralization of the school system into 'schools are businesses' has nothing to do with meeting the terms of education achievement and parents will tell you nothing has been done in this regard.........only the use of schools in gentrification.
Schools can earn automatic partial escape from state control under a new proposal
Print By Adam Clark | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
on December 08, 2014 at 5:37 PM, updated December 08, 2014 at 5:38 PM
TRENTON —State-controlled school districts could earn their automatic release from intervention in some areas under a bill endorsed Monday by the state Senate's budget and appropriations committee.
The bill (S1895) allows districts that score 80 percent or higher in any of the five categories of New Jersey's Quality Single Accountability Continuum to immediately be released from state control in that area. Districts would remain under state control in other QSAC areas until also fulfilling 80 percent of those requirements.
Schools face a state QSAC review every three years in the categories of instruction and program, personnel, fiscal management, operations and governance. Currently, if a district scores an 80 or above in a QSAC category the state may release the school from its control over that category, but that release is not automatic, said state Sen. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex), co-sponsor of the bill.
A state Senate panel on Monday endorsed a bill sponsored by Sen. Teresa Ruiz that would allow school districts to earn an automatic release fromm state intervention. (Star-Ledger file photo) Aside from the QSAC score, the state makes a subjective decision about whether the district has adequate programs, policies and staffing to demonstrate that its QSAC score is sustainable.
The Newark, Paterson, Jersey City and Camden districts are all under some form of state control, causing tension within the communities. Ruiz, who sponsored the bill along with Sen. Nellie Pou (D-Passaic), said those districts need to a clearer path to escaping state intervention.
Jersey City is in a holding pattern because it never knows when it will be under its own control, said Sen. Sandra Cunningham (D-Hudson).
"It does not make for a good environment for education," Cunningham said.
The Department of Education last week announced it will grant three-year QSAC waivers to schools that fulfill 80-100 percent of the QSAC performance indicators. Ruiz said the legislature should follow the that lead in using QSAC to release schools from state intervention.
The bill passed the committee despite several members abstaining from voting because the bill is unclear about the process of state withdraw.
A tandem bill, A3080, was referred to the state Assembly's education committee in May.