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DePue School responsible for $243,000

Officials still attempting to dispute the charge

Published: Monday, Sept. 1, 2014 12:13 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, Sept. 1, 2014 2:26 p.m. CDT

DEPUE — The DePue School District has been deemed responsible to repay $243,000 for allegedly misusing the funds from its $4.7 million SIG grant, which was awarded to the district in 2010.

As previously reported, DePue was one of five schools in the state to receive the grant. The monies were disbursed over a three-year course. When the state terminated the grant in 2012, they claimed the district had misused the funds.

State auditors discovered the district had used grant monies for educational purposes on junior high and elementary school teachers, when it fact, the grant was only meant to be used for the high school.

The district has tried to dispute the allegations, saying the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools (IARSS), who was a lead partner with the grant, is partly responsible because they had approved list item budgets the district had submitted to them during the time of the SIG grant.

On Wednesday, DePue Superintendent Randy Otto said the district is still in negotiations with representatives from the IARSS on whether they will pay for some, if not all of the amount, the state has requested.

Otto said the IARSS has a limited time-frame to determine their decision on the matter, and as of now, Otto said it’s too soon to tell which direction they will take.

The state has requested the monies be paid entirely by September 2015. A first installment of $200,000 is due by the end of Fiscal Year 2015.

As Otto awaits an answer from the IARSS, he has reviewed a tentative budget for FY 2015 with the school board. He said as of now, the only deficit projected in the budget is the $200,000 amount requested by the state.

It’s taken two years to determine the outcome of the misused funds and how much money would have to be repaid by the DePue School District.

Otto confirmed now that the state has made its request, there will not have to be further dealings with them after the monies are repaid.

Further, he said there won’t be a feeling of relief until IARSS comes to their conclusion.

“I don’t think we should have to pay for anything, but the district is the one who had the grant, so unfortunately it might fall back on our shoulders,” he said.

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