Federal Funds Misused by the School System in Trimble County, Kentucky

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1971-12-14.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

‘\            B-164031(1)                                            /&H-p

       ct     Dear Mr.      Snyder:
                     In accordance          with your letter           of July 2, 1971, and with
              our discussion         with you on September              15, 1971, we examined
              into the statements             made to you by your constituents                     to the ef-
                                          funds had been m&used by the school system
       ,      ~~‘&E~~~eF~ckv.
                       _- .,“,III
                              .                             The statements            refe=Gl        to
               (1) payment- of* Teachers I salaries                 through     the unauthorized             use
              of funds provided           for aid to educationally                deprived        children
              under title         I of the Elementary           and Secondary           Education       Act,
               (2) enrollment        of inelml%            chi-tdr-en     in the --.I-...I
                                                                                      Head Start
                                                                                              ^         pro-
              gram, (3) unavailability               of title       I funds budgeted            for pur-
              chasing     teaching       supplies      for the Summer Migratory                 Program,
              and (4) the possibility              that the school           district       had forged
              Federal     employees’        signatures       to forms used to claim Federal
              impacted       aid funds.

                    The Office  of Education       administers   the title    I and im-
              pacted aid funds,     and the Office      of Child Development      adminis-
              ters the Head Start     program.      Both are agencies      of the
            - Department   of Health,    Education,     and Welfare.

                    As a result     of our inquiry,         the Division       of Finance,     Ken-
             tucky Department       of Education,       investigated        the use of title       I
             funds by Trimble       County to pay teachers*            salaries      and concluded
             in its report      that the title       I program erroneously            had been
             charged $2,020 for the first            half of the 1970-71 school year.
             This amount included         $1,984 paid to a teacher             during the first
             semester   and $36 paid to a’substitute               teacher     for 1 day’s work.
             According   to the Division        of Finance,        the charge to the title           I
             program was erroneous         because the payments           to the two teachers
             were for teaching       a third-grade        class which was not eligible
             for title   I funding.         The Division       of Finance recommended that
             the State title       I director     request      the Trimble       County Board of
             Education   to refund       $2,020 to the title          I program.                       +r

                     After   we inquired       into what action     he planned      to take on
              the recommendation,        the State title      I director      conducted     his
              own investigation       of the matter       and subsequently       requested
              the superintendent        of Trimble    County Schools       to reimburse       the
              $2,020 to the title        I program.       The director     said that the
              Trimble     County superintendent       had told him that the refund
              would be made after        official    action   was taken at the next meet-
              ing of the Trimble        County Board of Education,           scheduled     for
              November 19 71.’

                     We could not determine,    without      contacting                   the    applicants,
              whether   any of the 112 children      enrolled      i                                    ble

                                          50TH                         1- 1971

County Head Start          summer program were ineligible,                 because the
applications        for the 1971 summer program did not show such nec-
essary eligibility           information      as the amount of family              income,
number of persons          in the, household,         or the ages of the chil-
dren.      The Assistant         Regional    Director       for Child Development,          I 8,A
Atlanta      Regional     Office,     Department      of Health,        Education,     and
We1fare , noted these same omissions                  prior      to our review       and
instructed       the superintendent          of Trimble         County Schools       to re-
quire that such information                be included        in future    applications.
Although      the application          form had not been revised             at the time
of our review,         the local      Head Start      director       told us that it
would be revised          as requested       before     recruitment       began for the
1972 Head Start          summer program.

        Your constituents       reported       that $1,000 had been budgeted
for teaching       supplies    for the 1970 Summer Xigratory                 Program
but had not been available             when needed,         They therefore         ques-
tioned    the use made of the funds.               Our review        showed that the
budget for this program did not provide                    for any title        I funds
to be used for teaching           supplies.        Trimble      County’s     payroll
records     for the program did not list              the name of the teacher
who your constituents          said informed        them about the unavailabil-
ity of the budgeted         funds.      After     we brought       these facts       to the
attention      of your constituents,           they called       the teacher       and
learned     that she had not taught            in the federally          funded Summer
Migratory      Program but rather        in a locally         funded summer read-
ing program administered           by Trimble       County.        Because the summer
reading     program was a local         project     and did not receive            Federal
funds, we made no further            inquiries      into this matter.
        We reviewed     all the forms used in Trimble               County to claim
impact     aid funds for fiscal        year 1971 for indications              that the
signatures      of Federal      employees      might have been forged.             We
noted that a number of these forms were unsigned.                        Program reg-
ulations,     however,     allow    a school      district   to obtain      the infor-
mation on Federal        employees      either     by having    the- parent      fill
out and sign the form or by having                  the Federal     employer     certify
to the employment         of the parent.          Trirnble  County Schools          used
both procedures.         Our review       did not indicate        that signatures
had been forged or that there had been any deviations                         from
prescribed      procedures.
       Follow-up    action should be taken              by (1) the Office of
Education     to ensure that reimbursement               in the amount of $2,020

     is made to the title     I program by the Trimble     County Board of
     Education   and (2) the Office     of Child Development    to ensure
     that the Head Start    application    form is revised   prior    to re-
     cruitment   for the 1972 summer program,     to obtain   sufficient
     data from applicants     so that program administrators       can de-
     termine   applicants ’ eligibility    for the program.
            The Department        of Health,    Education,  and Welfare     and
     State and local      officials      involved    in the programs    have not
     been given an opportunity           to comment formally      on the matters
     discussed    in this     report.      As agreed to by you, copies of this
     report    are being furnished         to the Secretary    of Health,    Educa-
     tion,   and Welfare *
                                           Sincerely    yours,

                                           Comptroller   General
                                           of the United   States
     The Honorable  EI. Gene Snyder
     House of Representatives