One Chicago Public Schools manager must have really been jonesing for a cup of coffee when officials say she spent nearly $70,000 of the district's money to buy 30 cappuccino/espresso machines for a high school program.
But five months after the machines were purchased, 22 remained unopened, one disappeared and three were being used at two schools—though not in the culinary arts program for which they were intended, the district's inspector general said Tuesday.
Officials in a department dealing with work-school programs allegedly separated the purchases to make them appear they came from 21 different schools and were under $10,000.
By doing so, the purchases did not have to be competitively bid or win school board approval, said Jim Sullivan, the district's inspector general.
As a result, he said, the district overpaid for the coffeemakers by more than $12,000.
"They sat unused for a number of months . . . by not letting the schools know they were coming, it turned out at the time to be a waste of money," Sullivan said.
The cappuccino caper was one of a record number of cases tackled between July 2007 and June 2008, Sullivan said.
The inspector general's office had 1,012 complaints alleging misconduct, waste, fraud and financial mismanagement in the district. Of these, 940 cases were closed with many resulting in recommendations for termination and some for criminal prosecution.
Source: Chicago Tribune
President-elect Obama selected Arne Duncan, current CEO of the Chicago Public Schools, to take over the U.S. Education Department. Fed mandated cappuccino is coming soon to all of America...