District of Columbia:

Extent to Which Schools Receive Available Federal Education Grants

HEHS-99-1: Published: Oct 9, 1998. Publicly Released: Oct 9, 1998.

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Carlotta C. Joyner
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed how well the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) have taken advantage of available federal education dollars, focusing on the: (1) federal education grant programs that are available to the District of Columbia; (2) status of efforts to fully optimize the ability to apply for or receive federal education grant programs by the District of Columbia; and (3) process for ensuring timely application for federal education grant programs and the office that is charged with ensuring the success and the efficiency of this process.

GAO noted that: (1) DCPS are eligible for 72 of the 103 fiscal year (FY) 1998 federal education grant programs available for preschool, elementary, and secondary education; (2) in FY 1998, the District of Columbia accessed 47 of the 72 federal programs available to DCPS; (3) DCPS did not apply for the remaining 25 programs because it lacked the resources to pursue these grants, according to DCPS officials; (4) for example, they said budgetary constraints precluded applying for grants requiring matching funds, such as Even Start-Migrant Education; (5) they further stated that DCPS had insufficient staff to apply for some grants or to implement a grant if received, such as Bilingual Education-Professional Development; (6) the grant application process can vary by grant and involves several offices in DCPS and the District of Columbia government; (7) grant applications can originate in several DCPS offices but all go through the office of the DCPS Chief Executive Officer prior to submission to the agencies; (8) grant applications for the Department of Education's TRIO programs are submitted by the Office of Postsecondary Research and Assistance of the District of Columbia's Department of Human Services; and (9) the grant applications for two educational programs administered by the Department of Justice--Gang-Free Schools and Communities program and the Juvenile Mentoring Program--are the responsibility of the Office of Grants Management and Development in the Office of the Chief Financial Officer for the District of Columbia government.

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