Report criticizes city school grant program

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A new city audit criticizes Richmond public schools' handling of millions of dollars. Auditors say the school systems needs to do a better job monitoring how it spends state and federal grant money.

The audit was released this morning and took at look at how grant money was spent by the school system in 2007. The school administration was unavailable for comment today, but the report makes it clear, there were serious problems. Richmond schools took in 44 million dollars in grant money in 2007.

But according to this audit report, no one was double checking whether those funds were being used properly.

According to the report, 22 percent of expenditures for things like invoices and hotel rooms were approved without receipts.

Auditors say the school grant program had no accountability, little monitoring and made no efforts to identify new grants to apply for.

This audit helped catch an employee who stole $15,000 from the Even Start grant: money that was supposed to be used to help adult family members of Richmond school children learn to read.

The employee even admitted to buying $10,000 worth of GRTC bus passes and giving them to people not in the program. The U.S. Attorney's Office prosecuted. She pled guilty and will be sentenced in October.

The audit made 22 recommendations for changes, 8 of which have been completed; several could be finished next month. School Board member Kim Bridges, who chairs the school system's audit committee, says Richmond will conduct 6 more audits next year. She also says the findings of this latest audit report will most likely be discussed at Monday's school board meeting. It's at 6:00 at City Hall.

(c) 2009. WWBT, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.