Mr. Robert C. Bobb, Emergency Financial Manager, Detroit Public Schools (DPS) today provided an update on two ongoing DPS Office of Inspector General investigations involving current and former DPS employees:
In the first investigation, two Class B Engineers resigned their positions with DPS last Friday prior to Disciplinary hearings. Both former employees are under investigation for alleged violations of the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) contract provisions dealing with (1) Failure to disclose additional/outside employment, and (2) Outside employment interfering with employment obligations with Detroit Public Schools. In addition both were facing violations of abusing the Districts “Leave of Absence” policy.
The OIGs investigation began in response to “Hotline” information; and disclosed both former employees were also employed full time as shift supervisors at Detroit Thermal, a local heating and cooling company. In order to maintain their employment at Detroit Thermal the employees inappropriately utilized both paid and unpaid DPS sick leave. When absent from their DPS jobs, the District was forced to pay other engineers to cover their job assignments. The first individual was hired by DPS on February 20, 1984 and began working for Detroit Thermal on January 4, 2005. The second was hired by DPS on February 18, 1991 and began working for Detroit Thermal on January 12, 2009.
While on paid DPS sick leave, both former employees earned approximately $337.00 per day in salary and benefits. This matter has been discussed with the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office. Investigation is continuing.
In the second OIG investigation, DPS will be seeking to refund approximately $18,040. to parents and students who should have qualified for free Advanced Placement (AP) examinations during the years 2006 thru 2009. In response to “Hotline” reports from students and teachers, OIG investigators determined the Michigan Department of Education (MDE), in order to increase access to AP tests for low-income students, applied for and received federal grants which set forth student eligibility criteria for AP fee reductions. In numerous memoranda and on their web site, the MDE notified school districts of the reduced fees.
At one DPS high school, despite the MDE fee reduction credit, AP coordinators continued collecting the $54.00 test fee from all students taking the examinations. They did not return the fees to grant eligible parents and students. Instead the money was used to pay for other expenses, to include hiring AP proctors and attendance by two employees at an AP workshop in Chicago, Illinois. The high school’s Vice Principal, and AP Coordinator since 2007, was notified today that she is being relieved of her duties pending a disciplinary hearing. A total of 340 AP examinations should have received the fee reduction from 2006 thru 2008. Following numerous student and teacher inquiries beginning in March of this year, the Vice Principal directed refunds be made to 2009 qualifying students.
Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb stated regrettably many AP eligible students may not have taken the AP examinations because their families felt they could not afford the $54.00 fee; when in fact the test would have been given at no cost to them. Mr. Bobb advised the OIG investigation is continuing to determine what oversight and direction should have been provided by other school administrators to the AP program.