moncler outlet Teacher's group files complaint against Birmingham school system alleging mishandling of federal funds Birmingham Board of Education member Lyord Watson, Birmingham City Schools Superintendent Craig Witherspoon and board President Randall Woodfin during a meeting June 26. (Evan Belangeremail@example.com)
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama - A Birmingham teacher's union has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education's Office of the Inspector General alleging that Birmingham City Schools misused federal funds meant for schools with high-percentages of low-income families, called Title I funds, on non-Title I students and schools.
The complaint, , President of the Birmingham local American Federation of Teachers, states that two contracts for Kaplan ACT test training were paid for with Title I funds: One in January, worth 7,300; another in June, worth 0,360. According to the complaint, some of the funds from these disbursements were used atnon-Title I school.
It also notes two other programs - the Pearson Schoolnet student data warehousing suite, and the ST Math intervention program - were also paid for with Title I funds and covered students from non-Title I schools.
The filing includes copies of the BOE agenda items for the funding approved by the board, along with news stories about the school system.
There are five non-Title I schools in the Birmingham system: Christian K-8, Epic, Phillips Academy, Princeton Elementary, and Ramsay High.
The allegations are not new. Rumors swirled last month of an investigation into whether the federal funds, used for a Kaplan ACT program, were being spent on students from non-Title I schools. Birmingham Board of Education President Randall Woodfin . He denied thatfunds were misapplied. In late September, after the allegations came to light, the BOE voted to retroactively change the funding source for Kaplan ACT training and the Pearson Schoolnet system.
Birmingham Superintendent Craig. "The issue, if at all, is regarding supplanting, which is not permissible," he said.
After a request for comment to Witherspoon, Strategic Partnerships and Community Engagement Coordinator Adrienne Mitchell responded to AL.com:
"In response to your inquiry, Birmingham City Schools is aware of the complaint; however, we consider this to be a closed matter," Mitchell wrote. "The services provided to students from non-Title I schools were paid for through allowable sources of funding. Title I funds were not utilized to cover those services."
Woodfin pointed to statements he's made previously about the Title I allegations:
"There is an application process where we're supposed to share with the state what we're spending Title I dollars on, and we didn't include in our application allocating Title I dollars to Kaplan, the ACT program," . "Procedurally, that is wrong. But, I would submit to everyone that procedure is extremely different from misappropriation, misuse, or stealing for personal gain or money."
According to Richard Franklin, his office has been gathering the information for the 26-page complaint for two months. He fears that the alleged misuse of funds could be a harbinger of bigger problems in the school system, and has called for an investigation and an audit.
"I think that, for the good of the district, there needs to be outside intervention looking at our finances, making sure that everything is up to par before we get a new superintendent, and also, I think it would be fair to the school board to have a clean slate," Franklin said.
Witherspoon announced his resignation effective Dec. 31 last week, some time after the Birmingham Board of Education expressed frustration with . Shortly before the allegations of Title I misuse were made public, two of Witherspoon's department heads - Chief Academic Officer Tisha Nguyen and Supervisor of Curriculum Instruction, Assessment and Federal Programs Vanessa Peterson - .
The Alabama Education Association has also called for an investigation into handling of Title I funds in Birmingham, and the tenures of Peterson and Nguyen.
As a policy, the DOE Office of Inspector General does not confirm or deny investigations.
Updated at 3:15 p.m. to note Randall Woodfin directed AL.com to comments he's made earlier on the issues raised in this complaint. Updated at 6 p.m. with comments from Adrienne Mitchell.