American Elephants

Your Tax Dollars At Work! by The Elephant's Child

Let’s all fix education with stimulus dollars.  The Detroit Free Press has reported that Detroit Public Schools, one of the nation’s most chronically corrupt school systems, will receive $355 million from the federal stimulus package — with no strings attached.

The Detroit Public Schools have a $1.5 billion annual budget, but they are currently running a $150 million deficit, with finances so tangled that the state of Michigan has recently appointed an emergency financial manager to oversee its operations.  Since the declaration of emergency, DPS has failed to hand over at least five financial reports required under the state’s consent agreement.

The Brookings Institution has ranked Detroit as America’s worst major urban school district.  Detroit Public Schools only graduate 24 percent of its students.  The Superintendent was fired in December for incompetence, the second superintendent fired in three years and the eighth in the last 20 years.

A 2001 audit found $600,000 missing or misspent.  A 2004 audit of the district’s central warehouse found budget over-expenditures of $1.9 million, and that furniture purchased as part of a $158,000 purchase order is missing.

Expectations of improvement might be a little hasty.  Handing out funds with no strings attached sounds more like payback than stimulus.  Good politics, maybe, but the kids are, as usual, the ones who really get hurt.

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