The mortally corrupt Mid-Central Educational Cooperative was supposed to dissolve last week. But at its supposedly penultimate board meeting on June 15, Mid-Central voted to authorize continuing contracts, expenditures, and board meetings, including a meeting to authorize a Fiscal Year 2018 budget at the Platte Pizza Ranch on July 13.
So even as most Mid-Central member schools move their cooperative activities to the administration of their new Core Educational Cooperative, we’ll still have Mid-Central to kick around… and the state does intend to kick them around. On Thursday, the state sued Mid-Central and its 13* member school districts to recover $4.3 million in matching funds from the GEAR UP program. Bob Mercer gives the exact figure and additional expenses the state wants to claw back:
The lawsuit filed Thursday in Hughes County circuit court specifically asks for $4,316,431 from Mid-Central and its member schools for projects matching requirements. GEAR UP requires a 50 percent non-federal match.
The suit also seeks $97,544 from the cooperative and its members as compensation for: billings of $65,000 from Stacy Phelps, who was Mid-Central’s head of GEAR UP; overbilled salaries totaling $18,095; services without required personal activity reports totaling $11,325; travel expenses without Mid-Central’s approval for $1,795; and unapproved food expenses of $1,329 [Bob Mercer, “State Sues Mid-Central for $4M over GEAR UP Funding,” Rapid City Journal, 2017.07.01].
In its June 15, 2017, minutes, Mid-Central reports an end-of-May bank balance of $915,311.44. If the state wins its $4.5-million lawsuit and claims every one of those Mid-Central pennies, the member schools will still be on the hook for almost $3.6 million. That’s 27% of the $13.3 million in state aid those 13 school districts are slated to receive this school year.