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DePue Schools’ SIG Grant costs decrease

Published: Friday, Nov. 22, 2013 3:21 p.m. CST • Updated: Friday, Nov. 22, 2013 3:22 p.m. CST

DEPUE — DePue Schools’ Superintendent Randy Otto reported positive news Wednesday on the district’s rebuttal of having to pay back monies apparently misappropriated under the Student Improvement Grant (SIG).

In September, Otto confirmed state auditors had collected documentation from the district’s previous budgets and created a list of about 15 to 20 items totaling around $713,000 that were misappropriated. It was discussed the district might have to pay the money back to the state.

On Wednesday, Otto met with the Illinois State Board of Education, and a second review and determination of the state’s audit showed the district would only have to pay back around $473,289.

“So the good news is, if you remember before, it was at $713,000,” he said to the DePue School Board on Wednesday. “At least it’s gone down.”

The second bit of good news, is Otto said of the $473,289, around $388,672 actually could end up being charged back to the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools (IARSS), because a portion of the amount is based on the fact that they did not keep good enough daily records on certain information in the district.

“Since that’s their problem and not the district’s problem, the cost (for the district) could go down,” Otto said.

With that information, the district’s cost could be lowered to around $85,000.

Otto also reported the district has 30 days left in their time frame to submit additional documentation to potentially help alleviate the leftover cost.

Otto plans to meet again with the Illinois State Board of Education in January.

As previously reported in the Bureau County Republican, the $4.7 million SIG grant was awarded to the district in August 2010 and was terminated by the state in 2012. DePue was one of the five schools in the state to receive the grant.

This year would have been the period where the district would start to wean off the grant’s resources and take on the programs learned from the grant and refine them as their own.

In other business, the board:

• Approved Maricelle Ellena as high school RtI coach and Sarah Fowler and Jennifer Manning as junior high RtI coaches.

Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.

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