Thursday, July 26, 2012
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ALBANY -- The Dougherty County School System has delivered documentation to the Universal Services Administrative Company (USAC) concerning E-Rate grants provided to the system.
The E-Rate program provides discounts to help schools and libraries obtain affordable telecommunications and Internet access. Under the direction of the Federal Communications Commission, USAC discounts for support depending on a district's poverty level.
Discounts can range between 20 percent and 90 percent and are determined by a district's free and reduced-cost meal (FRM) numbers.
Because of the recent indictments of Dougherty School Board member Velvet Riggins and Morningside Principal Gloria Baker, questions were raised as to the accuracy of the system's FRM numbers and the effectiveness of the system's internal controls to ensure compliance.
Since funding year 1999, Dougherty's public school system has received more than $22 million in E-Rate program funding. The system's 2012-13 funding request is currently pending.
On May 31, USAC sent a letter to Superintendent Joshua Murfree seeking documentation supporting the FRM numbers used to calculate funding from 2009 to 2011.
The system responded to the USAC request on June 20.
"Yes, we have received information from Dougherty County and we are currently reviewing the documentation," USAC Media Director Erik Iversen said Thursday. "The review will take some time as we are trying to be as thorough as possible.
"Keep in mind this exchange of information is quite typical since we deal with districts all over the country."