School district ordered to return federal grants

By Ty Tagami at the AJC >>
The DeKalb County School District has been ordered to return $2.1 million to a federal anti-poverty program because it failed to show that it allocated the money as required.

The Georgia Department of Education characterized the repayment as a “corrective action” for failure to meet the federal “comparability requirement” under the Title 1 program, which supplements the budgets of schools with higher proportions of students from low-income households. To be in compliance, school districts must use state and local funds to provide “substantially comparable” services to all schools. DeKalb could not show that it did.

Read more here (and weep) >> School district ordered to return federal grants

Pitiful. Pitiful all around.

UPDATE >> Below is the video of the discussion regarding Title I Comparability Payment at Monday’s board meeting

Stan brought it up – watch as everyone dances around the request to ‘discuss’…

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16 Responses to School district ordered to return federal grants

  1. H.A. Hurley says:

    Everywhere we look in DCS, $$ is siphoned from poor kids. We are at the bottom of the Metro systems in test scores, have had nothing but shysters as Supers/BoE & $M are flying out of our school doors along with fed-up teachers. They can’t even use the Fed$$ for Poor children! Taking from kids who have zip, whose teachers are given zip and a Superintendent who thinks everything is just great. The Governor thinks all is great!
    Maybe I should use a famous film line…”I’m having wht he’s having!”
    They are not about our children.
    Wait until we convert to an All-Charter system without ANY ACCOUNTABILITY or oversight.
    Bet, they can’t wait to take nore $M for their greedy needs.
    What kids? What futures?
    Disgusting!!

  2. dsw2contributor says:

    Maybe we should start tallying up Michael Thurmond’s “LOST MILLIONS”?

    We can start with the $2.1 million being paid to the state. To that, add another $0.8 million for the stripped air conditioners (http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local/school-district-and-county-police-to-combat-copper/ngxK5/). Figure on at least another $200,000 to cover the 1 stolen and 18 damaged buses (http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/10-buses-damaged-after-vandals-go-joyride/nj3jn/). Ten of those buses were damaged when someone decided to play “Bumper Buses” (http://patch.com/georgia/dunwoody/vandals-use-buses-bumper-cars-0) at the DCSS bus lot.

    That brings us up to $3.1 Million….. how many million did Michael Thurmond claim to have “found”?

  3. @contributor >> include $50k a month for a year to Thurmond’s friends law firm for board training – plus whatever funds are still being wasted in a lawsuit with teachers (although, of course, the legal fees cannot approach the savings they get for not making those retirement fund contributions!! 😉 ) How about the money set aside to prepare for a lawsuit with Druid HIlls? $2.5 million for starters… That’s what you get when you have a lawyer running a school district — and you are paying him what amounts to a lawyer’s salary, however, he claims is a pay cut.

  4. nannerpuddin39 says:

    And our state government looks the other way…you know he hears about this. Guess he does not care about the children either!!

  5. If the GA DOE sent the letter to Thurman on November 14, 2014, why the hell are we finding out about it now!?!?!?!

  6. Sorry, I misspelled your name, Mr. Superintedent.

  7. Yes. It appears the reason it was even discussed was because Stan Jester asked to discuss it. Watch the video clip of the discussion we just added to the original blogpost.

    Pay attention to Thurmond and Beasley’s long and winding responses. Blah blah about ‘our commitment to children with special needs… ‘ It makes no sense at all – they absolutely never give a reason for having to return over two million dollars that the federal government had given them for children…

  8. September says:

    I guess I’m confused. Aren’t Title I and Special Education funded from two different sources of federal money?

  9. H.A. Hurley says:

    Double Speak and nonsense!
    Title 1 & SpEd reporting and funds have ALWAYS been separate.
    FTE reporting is highly detailed, can’t be sloppy, must add up and you can’t play shell games.
    Thurmond’s doing another schmoozing story of helping those poor ‘chillen’ with disabilities. Nonsense!
    My guess, they used Title1 funds for other things and got caught. How about all the iPads bought with Title1 funds for administrators, not used for kids, and then they disappeared? Using Title1 staff for SpEd? Many options of fudging and siphoning funds.
    Scary, Thurmond would pay it again because it is good for our SpEd ‘chillens’. What?
    Liar, Liar…pants on fire. They got caught!

  10. Teachermom says:

    Aren’t we due for an audit? We are as usual bleeding money…

    I also found it unbelievable that Thurmond suggested that he is righteously going to stay noncompliant next year—and pay another 1m. I wonder who wants to hire a super who PLANS to be out of compliance?

    Ironically, special education students are not being served in compliance with IDEA and a lawsuit is waiting to happen there anyway. To suggest that it was worth paying a 1m fine in order to serve special ed students is ludicrous.

  11. Believe me, this is just the tip of the iceberg of misspent Title I funds. DIdn’t Dekalb spend Title I money to buy Ralph Simpson’s books? Remember the junket to LA and all the other junkets paid for in Title I money? I remember a teacher who contacted the Title I office in Dekalb about a denied travel request, only to find most of the county Title I staff out of the office on training junkets in exotic locales. I also remember a local school that catered lunches for the administrators using Title I funds. Don’t get me started about the sordid history of Dekalb Title I spending.

  12. H.A. Hurley says:

    Dekalb County Schools is now reporting all students’ services and categories via Infinite Campus. Finally!! Most Metro systems have been entering data and reporting their data to the State for years. Sending in fudged reporting data on paper may have been mastered by the Old DCS – worked for them. They LOVED Title1 $M. Principals scrambled to get their hands on those $M. Gerrymandering catchment areas to qualify most schools for Title1 $M. Oh, they had to spend it on children and teachers? Tough requirements? Honesty? Ethics? Come on People!!!

    Now, new to DCS, Infinite Campus is accurate, fudge proof, and categorized by Thurmond as ‘apples & oranges’. Poor Super! Did he refer to SpEd & Children in Poverty(Title1) also as ‘apples & oranges’? I guess, it could be worse. Whatever simple story he can comprehend…
    We’re stuck!
    I keep forgetting, this is as good as it gets!
    Question: the Director of Curriculum was saying what? I could not make sense out of his explanation, at all! Does he have proper credentials? He should have been able to explain Title1 funding. Oh well!

  13. TITLE I — This is the area that Crawford Lewis placed in the hands of his mistress, Ms. Berry – to the tune of a $30-50 million empire. He took almost all Title 1 funds away from principals and created a fiefdom for his lover, along with a fantastic paycheck that they didn’t even use on their trysts at the Ritz (nope – used the county-issued P-card for that!) She hired all kinds of sorority sisters and other friends and family – gave them all ‘jobs’ at which all they had to do was monitor (hover over) teachers – ensuring that ALL bulletin boards were up to snuff!

    It’s a method of funding that lingers still today — top down. By the time funds reach children, they only have enough left for a couple of chicken nuggets.

    These funds can and should be used for extra teachers in the early grades whose only job it is is to focus on basic reading and math skills – ensuring that all young children are getting those basics down pat. There are more ways Title 1 funds can be spent – and principals are the best people to decide how to spend those dollars on the students within their school walls.

  14. howdy1942 says:

    Perhaps if enough us wrote Governor Deal and the State School Board to voice our strong disapproval of the school board majority, its leadership, and the administration, maybe we could get some attention. The leadership and administration of the Dekalb County School System are simply pathetic. I’m thinking that we need either a retired military officer or retired CEO who has the record of turning organizations around to come in and clean up the administration and leadership mess that we have – clean house and get some people in place who know what they are doing. No organization that lacks even the slightest support from at least 40% of those it serves could exist outside the laws that leave these people no choice.

    The financial and talented people who reside in Dunwoody and Brookhaven will eventually find a way to leave the Dekalb County School System. Druid Hills is all but history. That will probably cut the funding for the DCSS in half and the system will then either be taken over by the State or it will implode. Removing the previous school board did not accomplish much at all – the Governor should have removed the entire top level of administration (at a minimum). I am so sick and tired of the incompetence and ineptitude of the school board majority, of the leadership, and the administration. It is way past time to bring this long nightmare to an end.

  15. Word Wall says:

    They picked an odd time to congratulate each other on their competence — trying to explain away who flushed away another million dollars!

  16. H.A. Hurley says:

    They always slap each other on their backs. Amazing, even when the DCS was sinking, MayDay!!! They were still lollygagging and holding their collective breath…never an URGENCY.
    Kids have few books, no access at home, limited school technology, high % of POOR CHILDREN & teachers with one foot out the door, county splintering into many parts, charter cluster still seceding from the system…wanting to be adopted by APS (just now moving up)… we have been marching in muck so long while Thurmond schmoozes and surrounds himself with schmoozing Executive Directors of Curriculum…Dr. So&So!
    Same old, same old…EXCEPT our $M are still flying out of the gates.
    Gov. Deal must still be very satisfied with Thurmond. He can’t do no wrong! Go figure!

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