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Tea Response Ses 012312 Slk v4[6]

Tea Response Ses 012312 Slk v4[6]

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Published by DallasObserver

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Published by: DallasObserver on Feb 07, 2012
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January 27, 2012Mr. Robert ScottCommissioner of EducationTexas Education Agency1701 North Congress Ave.Austin, TX 78701-1494RE: Your Letter Dated January 13, 2012 Regarding Fiscal Mismanagement of Grant Funds; Failure to ProvideSupplemental Education Services; and TEA Monitor ChangesDear Mr. Scott,In response to your letter dated January 13, 2012, please find each of your requested items addressed below:
(1) Describe DISD's implementation of SES requirements during the 2011-2012 school year, including thefollowing:a. when and how DISD disseminated notification letters to all parents of students enrolled onthe campuses assigned an improvement status of Stage 2 or higher;
Due to a delay in TEA releasing the required SES PILOT Parent Notification Letter, Dallas ISD was granted anextension. PNLs were mailed out beginning September 8, 2011. Twenty-seven versions totaling 40,500 letterswere mailed to DISD parents.
b. when and how students were enrolled with the SES providers selected by their parents;
DISD participated in the SES Online Enrollment Pilot for the 2011-2012 school year. No paper enrollment formswere accepted. SIRC enrolled each student based on the criteria that DISD set. First enrollment wasSeptember 12, 2011 through November 10, 2011. There was not a second enrollment for DISD, since the 20%allotment was met.
c. when and how DISD entered into contracts with approved SES providersdesignated to serve your school district, including whether such contracts wereever voided, delayed, or reinstated;
An email was sent to all providers interested in contracting with Dallas ISD on August 3, 2011, with an attachedLetter of Intent. The Letter of Intent was due back to DISD on or before August 17, 2011, by 5:00 PM CST.Follow up phone calls and emails were made on August 8, 10, 15, and 16 to those who had not responded. Toreceive a contract, the provider had to attend a mandatory Provider Orientation Meeting on one of the followingdates: August 9, 2011 or August 10, 2011. Contracts were due back to the DISD Office of Federal and StateAccountability by August 19, 2011, no later than 5:00 PM CST.DISD voided all contracts that were issued in August 2011. DISD made revisions to the contract and held twoProvider Contract Meetings (October 31 and November 1) to discuss the new contract. DISD mailed each
 
provider their new contract on December 16, 2011, and informed them it was due back to the DISD Office of Federal and State Accountability on January 6, 2012, by 5:00 PM CST (notarized).
d. how DISD ensures that students receive services;
Dallas ISD monitors attendance by checking hours inputted into EZSES. An SES Liaison is designated at eachcampus to monitor tutoring on campus. District staff does tutoring observations for those providers tutoring off campus.
e. how DISD reimbursed SES providers for services provided to eligible students;
At this time, DISD has not received any 2011-2012 provider invoices for payment. This was due in part to adelay in tutoring services rendered pending management’s review of the SES program subsequent as discussedin item (1) g. below. The first cycle of invoices for the 2011-2012 contract year is expected to be received on or before February 8, 2012. Reimbursement to providers will occur within 45 days, as stipulated in the TexasPrompt Payment Act and DISD Board Policy entitled PURCHASING AND ACQUISITION CHF-PAYMENTPROCEDURES (LEGAL) DATE ISSUED: 6/7/2006, 1 OF 3, UPDATE 78 CHF (LEGAL)-P.
f. how the number of hours of SES is tracked and documented;
There are daily print outs of the District Summary Report from EZSES. The Attendance & Payment Recorddocuments students’ daily attendance and hours of tutoring. This information is recorded in the EZSES StudentManagement System by the provider and is summarized to show the total hours of tutoring received for eachstudent up to the maximum allowable PPA.
g. why DISD has not fully implemented SES requirements;
In conjunction with the 2010-2011 annual audit, the District discovered potential irregularities involving invoicesreceived from several vendors. The district took immediate action by reorganizing the department in charge of oversight for the program and hired a forensic team to conduct further investigations into the program. OnOctober 4, 2011, Marian Hamlett, Director – Accounting Services, Jordan Roberts, Manager – GrantsManagement and Leticia McGowan, District Attorney had a conference call with TEA personnel in the GeneralCounsel’s office and program personnel including David Anderson, Becca Marsh, Anita Villarreal and LeticiaGovea. The purpose was to get guidance from TEA on how to proceed with the SES providers for whomconcerns were raised during the annual audit. Additionally, district staff met with the TEA to report our initialfindings, present our corrective action plan and discuss additional procedures the district has planned to identifythe unallowable costs. The meeting at TEA held on October 24, 2011 was attended by Ms. Hamlett, Alan King,Interim Superintendent of Schools, Reem Samara, Director - Deloitte & Touche LLP, and George Scott, Partner -Deloitte & Touche LLP, Janice Hollingsworth and Rodger Hingorani, both with the TEA. Please see the memo onthe enclosed CD (two copies included) for the agreed-upon action plan resulting from that meeting.After this meeting, the District continued its investigation. The initial concerns were that district employees werebeing paid by both the district and vendors for the same work or tutors were being paid by multiple vendors for the same time period. The District’s Office of Professional Responsibility conducted a sampling of interviews withseveral district employees and found no indication of employee misconduct. The District, therefore, concluded
 
that the apparent fraudulent activity was conducted by the vendors and the forensic audit team focused their procedures on these vendors.The Annual Financial Report was issued and approved by the Board of Trustees at the November 17, 2011board meeting.After the audit report was approved, district staff requested a conference call to discuss an alternative SES Planwith the School Improvement Division at TEA. The conference call was held November 21, 2011. In attendanceon the call were Anita Villarreal and Sally Partridge, both with TEA, Mr. Roberts, Sherry Christian, InterimDivision Executive – School Administration, Chuck Chernosky, Director – Federal and State Accountability andSteve Korby, Executive Director – Financial Services. The District’s alternate SES Plan is outlined below:Dallas ISD requested a waiver from TEA to repurpose the mandatory set aside for SES services toa more productive initiative. The District will set aside approximately $10 million to hire teachers atStage 2 and above AYP campuses in order to lower class sizes. Since all 26 campuses that meetthis criterion are “school-wide”, allocations will be distributed evenly across the affected campuses.Teachers will be hired according to the specific area of improvement of each campus. Theimprovement areas are math, reading, attendance and/or graduation rate. This proposal will allowthe District to hire approximately 166 teachers or 6.4 additional teachers per campus. The waiver request was addressed to Laura Taylor, Associate Commissioner of Accreditation and SchoolImprovement.Dallas ISD received notice on December 9, 2011, that the request for an alternative SES plan had been deniedby the TEA.As stated in the District’s corrective action plan presented to the TEA on October 24, 2011, an external forensicsaudit team has begun an investigation, contracts were modified to give the district more oversight into the SESproviders’ activities and controls were strengthened. Our corrective action plan, all signed vendor contracts andour procedures manual are included on the enclosed CD (two copies included) for your review.
h. what steps DISD needs to take to fully implement SES requirements.
The District issued contracts to approved providers on December 16, 2011, with a deadline for return of January5, 2012. Providers were notified of the purchase order numbers on January 10, 2012.
(2) A Microsoft Excel spreadsheet containing the following information with respect to the 2011-2012 school year:
Included on the enclosed CD (two copies included).
a. The name of each SES provider that has or had a contract with DISD.b. The address of each SES provider that has or had a contract with DISD.
 
c. The phone number of each SES provider that has or had a contract with DISD.
 
d. The effective date of the contract with each SES provider identified.e. The number of students provided services under each contract each month.f. The number of hours of services provided to students under each contract eachmonth.

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