WRAL Investigates

NC public schools' stimulus spending in question

Posted February 4, 2011
Updated February 15, 2011

WRAL Investigates
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— North Carolina's public schools received $380 million in stimulus money that was supposed to save teaching jobs, provide services for low-income students and purchase supplies. A WRAL News investigation has uncovered that some of that spending is in question.

Two-hundred twenty school systems and charter schools received stimulus money, and newly returned audits question some of that spending. If school systems can't prove they followed the rules, they'll have to pay it back.

The audits raised questions about stimulus spending in about a dozen systems, including Wake, Sampson and Wayne counties.

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction is investigating $147,000 in spending in Wake County and $172,000 in Sampson. The biggest chunk of questionable spending is in Wayne County, totaling $1.4 million.

The funds involved are called Title I and are based upon the concentration of students from families who live in poverty. The money had to be directed at those students, so any services that helped the entire school system would not qualify.

Schools could also use the money to buy equipment or provide extra teacher training, but only Title I students could benefit.

North Carolina Education NC public schools' stimulus spending under investigation

DPI program directors are investigating the spending, and if they deem it inappropriate, schools will have to pay back some or all of the funding.

“Every dollar counts in this tough economic time, and when it comes to this report, it’s still just too early to know how that’s going to impact us,” Wayne County schools spokesman Ken Derksen said Friday. “Next week, we may get something back from the state that says, ‘Hey, these dollars have been identified,’ but it’s still too early to speculate just how that’s going to impact the budgets, how that’s going to impact Title 1 programs and impact the school district.”

8 Comments

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  • bigbadbill Feb 8, 2011

    "So does this mean I should send my students that come from middle class homes out in the hall while I use the equipment?"

    Absolutely. Better yet empty their pockets before you do it and redistribute the contents to the kids left in the class. This will be an important lesson in social responsibility for them and will please your superiors in Washington.

  • ykm Feb 7, 2011

    ahhhh I feel stimulessed don't y'all.

  • North Carolina Home Feb 4, 2011

    I'm shocked...totally shocked that this could happen. How now in this environment of transparencency?

  • cjw6105 Feb 4, 2011

    Hurry up, Bev, and appoint a task force to help Bob figure out what's goning on here!

  • BeLoved Feb 4, 2011

    "Schools could also use the money to buy equipment or provide extra teacher training, but only Title I students could benefit."

    So does this mean I should send my students that come from middle class homes out in the hall while I use the equipment?

  • Nancy Feb 4, 2011

    "Schools could also use the money to buy equipment or provide extra teacher training, but only Title I students could benefit."

    Disgusting abuse and inequality for all students. I'm really getting mighty sick of the selective assistance from the feds.

  • jdupree Feb 4, 2011

    I am not surprised. Millions in errors at the Employment Security Commission, state vehicles and equipment parked and not used with reocurring lease payments, and so on and so on. Things are managed so poorly in this state it is pathetic. This is why taxpayers (eople that really pay taxes) voted a lot of Democrats out of office. They carelessly invest (spend) tax dollars and are essentially spendthrifts!

  • whatelseisnew Feb 4, 2011

    "The funds involved are called Title I and are based upon the concentration of students from families who live in poverty. The money had to be directed at those students, so any services that helped the entire school system would not qualify."

    Another fine example of Government discrimination. God forbid we should actually improve the entire system so it benefits everyone.