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U.S. Board of Education Tells State to Empty Its Pockets

By Alicia Dorr in News on Jun 21, 2007 6:09PM

school_crossing_signs.jpgJust as Arne Duncan announced that Chicago Public Schools has to delay decisions about its budget until the cracker jacks in Springfield stop embarrassing the hell out of their constituents, he got some bad news: The Office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Board of Education is recommending that the state board of education pay back $16.8 million in federal funds CPS may have misused.

The feds aren't really saying that CPS didn't need the money, which was earmarked for poor schools. The recent audit found that the school district misrepresented itself in order to keep the money, counting vacant positions and opening needed positions but never filling them. The state board of education has appealed to pay back only $1.6 million, on the basis that the schools couldn't get anybody to take the jobs. This part is true. The district recently offered major incentives to anyone willing to take positions in 40 low-income schools.

It just sucks, doesn't it? It isn't as if the district wasn't in need of the funds, but even if the state doesn't have to pay it all back, it brings to light the desperate situation it faces. How can these schools improve if quality teachers don't want to step foot in them? We wish the problems were as easy to fix as they are in the movies.