Baltimore, PG Schools Misuse Federal Stimulus Funds

Baltimore City and Prince George’s County schools misused, hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds intended for educational purposes.
Fox 45 Baltimore first reported on the 67-page U.S. Department of Education Inspector General’s audit of AARA grant expenditures to the Maryland State Department of Education from 2009 and 2010.
Federal auditors found that Baltimore and Prince George’s County schools spent nearly $750,000 stimulus funds (including Title 1 funds for disadvantaged students) on on unallowable, unsupported, or inadequately supported expenditures. 
Some of the misuse of funds included:

  • $4,352 of Title I funds by Baltimore schools for two dinner cruises in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.
  • $2,413 by Baltimore schools on food for a PTA meeting that only 28 parents attended.
  • $1,425 by Baltimore schools for food for 100 people at an event that only 17 people attended.
  • $1,336 by Baltimore schools for 30 tickets to a theatrical performance in downtown Baltimore, as part of a parent appreciation/awards ceremony for elementary school parents.
  • $500 by Baltimore schools for a mother/daughter makeover day.

  • $2,565 by Prince George’s County schools for 145 imprinted watches and velvet pouches for principals.
  • $3,539 by Prince George’s County schools for custom labeled and printed folders for principals.
  • $222 by Prince George’s County schools for an electric pencil sharpener.

The report also noted that Prince George’s County purchased over 3,900 tablet computers with Title I funds.  Auditors reviewed 30 of 137 tablets distributed to staff at three middle schools, and found that 13 of the 30 machines had inappropriate apps on them in violation of county policy. The auditors report “…we found apps for social networking sites, Internet games, sporting sites, entertainment, music, and religion. These apps did not appear to be educationally related based on the nature of the app and the subject matter the teacher taught.” 

Read the whole audit report below.

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