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IA: Education department dinged in audit

By   /   July 30, 2012  /   No Comments

By Sheena Dooley | Iowa Watchdog

DES MOINES – Iowa Department of Education officials miscalculated special education payments, failed to make good on promises made in exchange for federal dollars, and inappropriately used stimulus money,  a recently released report from the Iowa Auditor of State says.

Iowa Department of Education officials miscalculated special education payments and failed to make good on promises made in exchange for federal dollars, the Iowa Auditor of State says.

The department fell out of compliance with state law for failing to meet requirements related to establishing a statewide school-to-work transition system and a recruitment-and-advancement program to provide grants to schools, the report said.

Specifically, the state auditor’s office found:

  • The state didn’t fulfill its obligation to maintain funding levels for higher education during fiscal 2010 and 2011. Officials had promised to do so in exchange for millions of federal dollars from the Education Jobs Fund.
  • Education officials inappropriately spent nearly $35,000 of the Education Jobs dollars it received to pay a national clearinghouse to provide help in collecting student data. Officials with the department, however, disagree, saying it was an appropriate use of the money.
  • School districts failed to submit comprehensive school improvement plans by the Sept. 15 deadline. Education officials said they had no way to enforce the deadline.
  • The state miscalculated the locations of Title I money, aimed at providing poor students with additional supports, and special education dollars.

The audit report, released last week, was routine. The state has submitted responses with corrective action plans for each of the findings.

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Sheena Dooley