ALBANY, Ga. -- The Albany Herald has learned that Dougherty County School System Federal Programs Director Betty Graper has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) Civil Rights Division contending she was discriminated against by the majority black school system on the basis of of her race.
Graper, who is black, filed her complaint in early August after Georgia Department of Education Title Programs investigators questioned the awarding of two consultant contracts in FY 2011-12 which were paid for with Title I money.
Last week, the USDOE sent a letter to DCSS Supt. Joshua Murfree which contends the District falsely accused Graper of improperly awarding contracts without first seeking school board approval.
The GaDOE is currently asking the DCSS for the reclassification of of $134,626 in "questionable" Title I expenditures from FY11-12, including $91,000 for Darrell Sabbs and Associates and $18,000 for motivational speaker Joseph Washington.
The department has placed a freeze on more than $11 million in federal Title I funding and has given the District until Sept. 28 to comply.
The USDOE said that Graper's complaint has been referred to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for review.
"This referral delegates to the EEOC our investigative authority under statutes and regulations enforced by the OCR (Office of Civil Rights)," The letter states. "Accordingly, we have requested that the EEOC, as part of its investigation, obtain information regarding whether the alleged employment discrimination results in prohibited discrimination against intended beneficiaries of the program."