Miami school district misused $6 million for driver’s ed programs, cars in horrible condition, report says

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A training vehicle being used reportedly had an iguana nest under the hood

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According to a report released earlier this month, education officials in Miami-Dade County misappropriated $6 million for driver education programs.

An investigation by the Miami-Dade County Office of the Inspector General found that traffic ticket fines never went toward driving lessons at most schools that claimed to teach such courses. Huh. It was also found that officers had failed to maintain a fleet of training cars, which had served as an iguana nest.

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The Miami Herald first reported that the Drivers Education Safety Fund is part of a county program designed to reimburse schools that provide cars for driver’s education. In 2002, county leaders created the Drivers Education Safety Trust Fund, which goes to traffic education programs in public and non-public schools through an additional $3 on every traffic citation.

The funds are supposed to augment driver’s education programs, not complement existing programs, and such programs require students to fall behind at least 30% of the time.

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The OIG report said that according to the Inspector General investigation, between fiscal years 2011 and 2016, administrators of Miami-Dade County public schools claimed that 36 or 37 of its high schools had working driver education programs — while in fact only Six campuses did.

Instead of $6.2 million going toward its program, the money was sent to the school district’s general fund, the county office of Inspector General Felix Jimenez said in a report concluding its findings.

The OIG launched an investigation after receiving complaints about alleged unreasonable reimbursement requests. During investigation, OIG agents found that the training cars were in substandard condition.

“Most of the cars across the district were in dire condition, including broken windows, flat tyres, rusted and damaged roofs and doors,” the report said.

The report said that many of the cars were between model years 1998 and 1999. In addition to dilapidated conditions, one vehicle had an iguana nest under the hood.

During the interview, a teacher told investigators that he used a real stick to shift gears in a vehicle because the gear shifter was broken. In another school, a teacher used electric golf carts to teach students to drive, the report said.

In addition, the district falsely reported in 2013 that 36 schools qualified for full funding from the county. Jane Greenberg, who was then director of the district’s Department of Physical Education, Health Literacy and Life Skills and oversees the driver education program, told Martha Diaz, the acting budget director at the time, that only six schools qualified.

The Herald reported that Diaz, who qualified 36 schools to the county, told OIG agents that he “provided false information for the sole purpose of obtaining 100% of the funds available from the county to cover teachers’ salaries and fringe benefits.” Of.”

The OIG’s office recommends the district reform its driver’s education program and avoid misusing or paying extra funds in the program.

“Staff will collaborate with Miami-Dade County to restore an effective and accessible driver education program for students in our community,” Deputy Superintendent Jaime Torrence wrote to the inspector general in response to the report.

In a statement released Friday, the school district said it is “disappointed by the sequence of events that unfortunately led to the findings in the OIG report. We have agreed, and are already implementing, the recommendations outlined here.” “

Granthshala News has reached out to the district for comment.


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