Audit raises questions about NC public schools’ use of federal stimulus money

Amid all of the leftist sobbing about mean Republicans cutting school budgets, causing teacher assistants to lose their jobs (and, of course, kids to get dumber), an audit of the state’s public schools’ handling of federal stimulus money is raising eyebrows:

North Carolina’s public schools received $380 million in stimulus money that was supposed to save teaching jobs, provide services for low-income students and purchase supplies. A WRAL News investigation has uncovered that some of that spending is in question.

Two-hundred twenty school systems and charter schools received stimulus money, and newly returned audits question some of that spending. If school systems can’t prove they followed the rules, they’ll have to pay it back.

The audits raised questions about stimulus spending in about a dozen systems, including Wake, Sampson and Wayne counties.

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction is investigating $147,000 in spending in Wake County and $172,000 in Sampson. The biggest chunk of questionable spending is in Wayne County, totaling $1.4 million.

The funds involved are called Title I and are based upon the concentration of students from families who live in poverty. The money had to be directed at those students, so any services that helped the entire school system would not qualify.

Schools could also use the money to buy equipment or provide extra teacher training, but only Title I students could benefit.


Only poor kids can benefit from this newly purchased equipment? So, does that mean everyone whose mommy and daddy works for a living, and pays taxes, has to step out in the hall while this equipment is being used?

All I can say is — Thank God for WRAL.  They are the only entity in the state’s alleged mainstream media (MSM) that occasionally wakes from its sycophantic stupor and does some real reporting. 

Madame Governor promised us a new era in government transparency.  Too bad we have to wait until the damage is done, and for WRAL to tell us about it, to benefit from this new era.

Bob (Who are you?)  Etheridge, who voters put in the unemployment line last November, was quickly appointed by Madame Governor to oversee the stimulus money in North Carolina.  Etheridge, who voted for this federal boondoggle, is conspicuously absent in the wake of this revelation.  Etheridge ran the Department of Public Instruction prior to being elected to Congress in 1996.   So, it and the state’s public schools are not exactly foreign, unfamiliar territory to him.

To make this story even worse, it appears that some of these school districts in question have NO IDEA what happened to all of that federal money:

DPI program directors are investigating the spending, and if they deem it inappropriate, schools will have to pay back some or all of the funding.

“Every dollar counts in this tough economic time, and when it comes to this report, it’s still just too early to know how that’s going to impact us,” Wayne County schools spokesman Ken Derksen said Friday. “Next week, we may get something back from the state that says, ‘Hey, these dollars have been identified,’ but it’s still too early to speculate just how that’s going to impact the budgets, how that’s going to impact Title 1 programs and impact the school district.”

Sickening.  Just sickening.