State Auditor questions CDE’s readiness to oversee stimulus spending

A new report from the California State Auditor raises doubt on whether the California Department of Education is adequately prepared to administer American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding.

The report cites cash management weaknesses within CDE as the reason LEAs are not dispersing funds in a timely matter.

Until [CDE] fully addresses its cash management weaknesses, it cannot be assured that sub-recipients will minimize the time between the receipt and disbursement of federal funds, said the reports author.

The concerns were not aimed at CDE alone, the report found that none of the four state agencies engaged in overseeing stimulus funding the Department of Health Care Services, Employment Development Department and the Department of Social Services were found to be prepared.

All four departments intend to rely on internal controls already in place for existing federal programs to administer Recovery Act fundingyet our most recent Single Audit Report covering fiscal year 2007-08 identified several internal control weaknesses at all four departments, according to the report.

CDE officials, however, dispute the notion that they are not ready to take responsibility over the federal program. Kevin Chan, director of audits and investigations at the CDE, said that existing systems are in place that are already monitoring LEAs spending and cash management.

Meanwhile in the nations capitol, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) released a report this week of 100 projects of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act he believes are wasteful and fail to stimulate the economy. Californias public educational system made number 81.

In 100 Stimulus Projects: A Second Opinion Coburn writes, The California Department of Education is not encouraging school districts to create or save new jobs by bringing them back on staff.

The senator also criticized Californias use of stimulus dollars to build a $3 million drinking water facility in a rural town and the use $5 million to install energy efficient light bulbs.

To read the state Auditors report, click here: more