Magazine article Curriculum Administrator

Education Secretary Paige Goes after Fraud

Magazine article Curriculum Administrator

Education Secretary Paige Goes after Fraud

Article excerpt

In an effort to avoid the public relations nightmare of the last administration--which lost track of a whopping $450 million--Education Secretary Rod Paige recently created an eight-member financial "strike team" to uncover fraud, waste and potential fiscal errors within the U.S. Department of Education.

Paige, who partly staked his reputation as schools superintendent in Houston on fiscal responsibility, says the group will review the department's financial practices from now through the summer. Senior department staff will comprise the eight-member group.

When he announced the group's creation, Paige said that in the past there had been instances where money was stolen, grant checks were duplicated and money was improperly spent or not at all. For example during a two-and-a-half-year period ending in September 2000, 21 duplicate grant checks were inadvertently issued, according to government officials, totaling $250 million. The checks were recovered.

An internal audit of the department also uncovered a Byzantine-like morass of potential accounting problems and areas where little or no oversight was taking place. …

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