The $20,000 question, posed by the Chicago Tribune, is why Illinois “is squandering taxpayer money on dubious after-school grants, including many that rewarded one lawmaker’s political supporters.” Senate Democrats have handed out 48 grants worth $20,000 each; only 11 went to established tutoring or mentoring programs, the Tribune found. State Sen. Rickey Herndon, D-Chicago, didn’t manage to fund a single legitimate after-school program.
In a church on Chicago’s West Side, two homeless children fiddled aimlessly on unplugged computers, awaiting their “tutor.”
Another church sat darkened and padlocked during after-school hours even though it was presented as a tutoring center.
A woman used her grant for billboard ads that would encourage teens to attend community college, but she pocketed nearly half the money. The billboards have yet to appear.
In three cases, education officials rubber-stamped legislator-selected grants to “programs where felons, one a convicted murderer, worked with children,” reports the Tribune
Education officials also didn’t heed red flags in the applications. One grantee promised to tutor on a “dailey bases,” another to teach “fluenty in speaking.” A third wrote that he’d pay himself $475 a month for a year to tutor children. When state officials e-mailed back that the grant lasted only six months, he replied that he’d pay himself $950 a month.
. . . The Al Malik Temple for Universal Truth spent its $20,000 to teach children how their birth date and name influence their destiny.
The Trib quotes a West Side principal who’d love to have $20,000 for band instruments or an after-school arts program. But would kids learn fluenty on a dailey bases? Would they learn Universal Truth?
Update: Michigan paid sex offenders, child abusers and ex-cons to provide day care, an audit revealed.