OKLAHOMA CITY - Unconstitutional spending last year means state lawmakers will have to pay the lottery millions before it begins to set the state's education budget.
The Board of Equalization determined last month the state supplanted the education budget with $10 million from the lottery.
Under law, lottery money may only be used as a sort of bonus on top of education funding. It may not take the place of regular funding.
"Clearly, we've had a problem," said David Blatt, director of the Oklahoma Policy Institute. "Education funding has been cut year after year. This is the first time, however, they've been able to say this is at least in part attributable to lottery money not being used as intended."
Relatively speaking, $10 million is a small chunk of the state's roughly $7 billion - and even the education department's approximately $2.5 billion budget.
But, in a year when lawmakers are already struggling to figure out how to fill a nearly $900 million budget deficit, every dollar counts.
By Scott Daugherty, The Virginian-Pilot
The co-owner of a Chesapeake barber college was sentenced Wednesday to more than five years in prison on charges he defrauded the Veterans Affairs Department out of more than $4.5 million.
His wife, the other owner, is to be sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court in Norfolk.
But what about the more than 350 veterans who collected over $10.5 million in GI Bill benefits while attending the “sham school,” where the unofficial motto was “We’re here to earn, not to learn”? That remains unclear.
To date, no students have been charged, and a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia declined to comment. Joshua Stueve cited an “ongoing investigation.”
When they finish looking into the College of Beauty and Barber Culture in Chesapeake, prosecutors will have to review each student’s case.
But even if they wanted to pursue charges against 350-some students, they probably couldn’t. The Norfolk office secured only 172 federal indictments total in 2016.
Chesapeake Commonwealth’s Attorney Nancy Parr said this week that federal authorities had not referred any cases relating to the barber college to her office.
William Grobes IV, 45, pleaded guilty in November to two felonies: conspiracy to commit wire fraud and engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity.
D.C. is misspending millions of dollars intended to help the city’s poorest students
The District’s public school system has misspent millions of dollars designated to help the city’s most vulnerable students, directing the money instead to cover day-to-day costs, according to government data, D.C. Council members and education activists.
The money is intended to provide extra academic attention and social services to boost the academic performance of children who lag behind their wealthier peers. But D.C. Public Schools uses a big chunk of the money to plug holes in the budget, covering routine costs such as paying the salaries of art teachers and aides.
“There’s no way we are going to help those students rise out of poverty if we don’t give them what they need,” said Ava Millstone, a parent at Amidon-Bowen Elementary, a school near the Southwest Waterfront with a large population of low-income students.
DCPS distributes about $50 million a year to benefit disadvantaged students in the District’s traditional public schools. That amounts to about $2,000 per eligible child. But nearly half of the money in the 2016-2017 academic year was used for other purposes, according to an independent budget analysis conducted by Mary Levy, a longtime schools budget analyst who in the past has worked as a paid consultant to the school system.
Click here to read the full story
Indiana was ranked 46th — of 50 states plus the District of Columbia — meaning that it is further along the privatization track than most other places in the country. For privatization advocates, that ranking would be looked upon favorably. For advocates of public education, it isn’t.
[There is a movement to privatize public education in America. Here’s how far it has gotten.]
The Journal Gazette in Indiana wrote a July 8 editorial about that report, saying in part:
Indiana’s dismal record for oversight of online charter schools is one reason it earned its own failing grade in a report evaluating the extent to which states divert money from traditional public schools to private schools and charter schools operated by for-profit management companies. The survey, by the Network for Public Education and the Schott Foundation, which might be easily dismissed as biased except that its findings are irrefutable, notes:
• Indiana has three separate programs designed to funnel tax dollars from public schools, at a conservative estimate of $171 million a year. “Indiana law has continued to morph over the years so that prior enrollment in a public school is no longer needed to receive a voucher for private school,” wrote Carol Burris, executive director of the Network for Public Education. “That means that taxpayers are now funding private school tuition previously paid for by parents.”
• Private schools receiving tax dollars are allowed to discriminate against students for whom English is not their first language by not providing services and can discriminate in enrollment on the basis of religion. “It is a system in which the school, not the parent, does the choosing.” Burris wrote in an email.
• Failing charter schools have been allowed to convert to voucher schools, so that they can “continue indefinitely,” Burris wrote.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) conducted an audit of two Idaho online charter schools, the Idaho Connections Academy and the Idaho Virtual Academy. OIG reviewed the schools’ oversight of program requirements including those for highly qualified teachers, Title I of The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), and the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). OIG found that despite the two schools’ adequate oversight of ESEA and IDEA, the Idaho Connections Academy had “significant weaknesses” in its compliance requirements for highly qualified teachers and its documentation of service delivery at-risk students and students with individualized education programs.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its report on oversight in postsecondary schools, and provided recommendations to address gaps in oversight and communication in fiscal monitoring. GAO found that 450 of approximately 6,000 schools that participate in federal student aid programs did not receive a passing financial composite score. Additionally, a higher percentage of for-profit schools received non-passing scores than non-profit schools despite the U.S. Department of Education increasing oversight of schools owned by publicly traded companies and private equity firms.
Our mission is to deliver meaningful oversight solutions for large-scale programs serving vulnerable populations such as children, seniors, people with disabilities, and victims of crime.