This story is absolutely pathetic. If Obama’s stimulus bill proves one thing, it is that there is no limit to the degree which a government operation can fail and not get bailed out. In this case, $355 million stimulus dollars are going to the Detroit Public Schools with no strings attached. Besides being mired in corruption and incompetence for decades, the DPS has the distinction of being ranked as the “worst major urban school district” in the country, only graduating 24 percent of its students.
Henry Payne, with the Detroit News, has the story:
Detroit, Mich. â€” Detroit Public Schools, one of the nationâ€™s most chronically corrupt systems, will receive $355 million from the federal stimulus package â€” with no strings attached, the Detroit Free Press reported Saturday.
Like much of the nearly $1 trillion fiscal package, the DPS money seems driven less by fiscal good sense than by political payback.
With a $1.5 billion annual budget, Detroit schools are currently running a $150 million deficit with finances so tangled the state of Michigan recently appointed an emergency financial manager to oversee its operations for the second time in ten years.
Since the emergency declaration, DPS has failed to hand over at least five financial reports that are required under the stateâ€™s mandated consent agreement.
Ranked in a recent Brookings Institution survey as Americaâ€™s worst major urban school district, DPS only graduates 24 percent of its students. In December, the DPS board fired Superintendent Connie Calloway for incompetence. Calloway was the second super fired in three years and the eighth district administrator in 20.
DPS has been plagued by corruption. A 2001 audit found $600,000 missing or misspent. Another 2004 audit of the districtâ€™s central warehouse found budget over-expenditures of $1.9 million and that furniture bought as part of a $158,000 purchase order was missing.
U.S. taxpayers can likely kiss this stimulus money goodbye.
Add this money to freedom, responsibility, capitalism and common sense on the long list of things we’re kissing goodbye.