ATLANTA — The chairman of the Georgia Board of Education's Budget Committee confirmed Friday that the committee discussed the Dougherty County School System's federal program problems on Tuesday during the BOE's regular meeting in Atlanta.
"We believe that the local boards are the ultimate policy- and decision-makers," Budget Committee Chairman Larry Winter said. "We are concerned with all that is going on in Dougherty County, that the board is not being given enough information to make informed financial decisions."
The committee decided to issue invitations to all seven current DCSS board members and the two new members-elect (Robert Youngblood and Lane Price) for a meeting with the panel in Atlanta on Dec. 3.
"We have concerns about Title I expenditures and Race To The Top grants, and we felt it was time for us to meet and have a dialog to see where they are and how to help bring the district back into compliance," Winter said.
When asked if DCSS Federal Programs Director Betty Graper was also invited to the meeting, Winter replied, "we invited each individual board member, and they can bring anyone they feel is revelent to the discussion."
The state launched a probe into questionable Title I, Part A expenditures on May 24 and found "programmatic issues" resulting in the department questioning substantial costs in FY 2011 and 2012.
The district last month returned $134,000 to the state, and the DOE is currently asking for supporting documentation, reclassification or reimbursement of $167,025 in "unallowable expenditures" in FY 2011 and $126,856 in FY 2012.
Earlier this month, the state DOE, expressing continuing concerns with the system's expenditure of Federal grant monies, listed the DCSS as federal "High Risk" status.
As a result, the state has placed the system's FY 2013 funds on a reimbursement basis. That means the DCSS may not draw any portion of its FY 2013 Title I, Part A allocation until the state department has reviewed and approved all purchase orders, receipts and other documentation for reimbursement.