The NC state auditor released a performance report on the NC Department of Public Instruction’s (DPI) handing of the 21st Century Community Learning Center program.
The report gives some background on the program:
The 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st Century) program is a federally funded, state administered grant program authorized under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.1 The program establishes or expands after-school programs intended to deliver academic enrichment services to at-risk students. Each state’s funding is based on the number of students in high-poverty and low-performing schools.
North Carolina’s Department of Instruction (DPI) receives approximately $30 million each year in federal funds for the 21st Century grant program. DPI disburses those funds to local programs through a competitive grant application process.
On the matter of selection process meeting federal requirements and consistency of grant recipient criteria, DPI was in the clear.
According to the Auditor’s report, when it came to oversight of the recipients, the expenditures and justification of cost per student increases across recipients, problems arose. Also, DPI was also found lacking in monitoring compliance of federal requirements by the grant recipients.
Report Summary via the State Auditor:
The audit found that the Department of Public Instruction’s (DPI) 21st Century Community Learning Center grant selection process met federal and state requirements. Also, DPI used consistent criteria to select grant recipients.
While DPI used a $2,500 cost-per-student budgetary cap during the application award process, the audit revealed that DPI does not analyze cost-per-student data at year end or program end to determine causes for differences on a grant by grant basis.
The audit also found that DPI did not always require grant recipients to pay back identified unallowable or inadequately documented expenses.
Finally, the audit revealed that DPI did not always follow its designed procedures to detect inappropriate expenditures or meet its goals for monitoring grant recipients’ compliance with state and federal regulations.
Read the full Auditor’s report.