Sunday, April 10, 2011

Easy come, easy go, Webb school district looses out on grant-Laredo style


Just in case anyone forgot, there's a Webb Consolidated Independent School District. True to form, WCISD is following in the footsteps of the Webb County Judge & Commisioners by managing to loose the use of over $120,000 in grant money. What got the district in trouble specifically, was the failure to verify that a particular project used materials made in the good old USA. Furthermore, they also could not verify that those doing the work were paid at least minimum wage. These two conditions were required under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act  (ARRA) which was funding the grant.

In her defense, WCISD superintendent Severita Sanchez, formerly a highly-paid LISD administrator, gave her side of the story. Today's Laredo Morning Times is reporting that:

WCISD Superintendent Severita Sanchez said it’s not that workers were paid below minimum wage or used materials were not made in the United States; it’s that the district did not verify that those things did not happen.

Because of the noncompliance, WCISD can’t use the $123,000 in stimulus funds to pay for the project, which involved the installation of wiring and cabling at the district’s new high school.Instead, the district will have to pay for it through its general operating fund. However, Sanchez said TEA will allow the district to use the $123,000 to pay for utility bills.

TEA wrote the letter to WCISD after a standard “desk review” of the district’s compliance with the requirements of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The purpose of the TEA reviews is to ensure requirements are followed and federal stimulus funds are expended.
Apparently, Ms. Sanchez fails to see that verification is a huge part of the grant process. What are the feds supposed to do, just take her word for it?  Looks like the Webb county tradition of lossing out on state or federal funding is alive and well. First the CAA and now this. 

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