Video: Baltimore schools spend stimulus dollars on … makeovers?

posted at 12:01 pm on May 24, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

A year ago, this would have qualified as a scandal.  This month, it’s more of a palate cleanser.  Baltimore schools got millions in federal stimulus money to improve education, as the local CBS affiliate reports, but is that where the money went?  Only if we’re preparing Baltimore schoolkids for beauty school and the Love Boat:

The audit shows federal stimulus, Title I dollars, went to dinner cruises, makeovers and meals and now, state lawmakers and parents want answers from the school district.

The report shows stimulus dollars intended to improve education at Baltimore City Schools didn’t go directly to the classroom. …

The U.S. Department of Education is reviewing expenses from 2009 and 2010 that showed more than $4300 were used on dinner cruises, more than $2400 for PTA meals at a meeting to discuss the budget, $1300 to attend a theater performance and $500 on a mother/daughter makeover.

“We’re talking $15 million out of $112 million, and what we see are school events to engage parents, but when the auditors came to look at it they said, ‘Wait a second. This should have been paid out of general funds, rather than Title I,” said Alonso.

Er, run that by us again?  The school district’s general funds should go to a mother-daughter makeover and dinner cruises?  Perhaps Baltimore needs fewer federal stimulus dollars and a lot more accountability on the uses of local funding in order to improve schools.

Meanwhile, this is hardly a confidence-builder:

“Anytime there’s an audit of Title I dollars, you’re going to see errors at the school level because schools spend money for what they need, and then sometimes they worry about if it fits the parameter of the grant later,” said Baltimore City Schools CEO Andres Alonso.

If audits routinely turn up misuse of stimulus funding, why do we continue to provide it? And if Title I dollars routinely get diverted to dinner cruises and Mommy-daughter makeovers, that’s a good place to turn off the federal spigot and make states accountable for their own schools — as should have been the case all along.

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“Anytime there’s an audit of Title I dollars, you’re going to see errors at the school level because schools spend money for what they need, and then sometimes they worry about if it fits the parameter of the grant later,” said Baltimore City Schools CEO Andres Alonso.

Errors? Those aren’t errors, they are “we gotta spend this money or we won’t get any more.”

rbj on May 24, 2013 at 12:05 PM

Well, it was free money…

d1carter on May 24, 2013 at 12:06 PM

Maryland using taxpayer money for mother/daughter makeovers?
Sounds about right…

Galtian on May 24, 2013 at 12:06 PM

Add this to the pile of reasons why the Federal Department of Education should be eliminated

blammm on May 24, 2013 at 12:07 PM

This should be interesting to watch. There was a lot of resistance in Baltimore to the appointment of Andres Alonzo. Wrong skin tone or something.

AcidReflux on May 24, 2013 at 12:07 PM

If audits routinely turn up misuse of stimulus funding, why do we continue to provide it?

Hahahahahahahhhaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!

dmann on May 24, 2013 at 12:08 PM

Forget it, Jake. It’s Baltimore.

Spade on May 24, 2013 at 12:09 PM

t was all for the children.

Grunt on May 24, 2013 at 12:09 PM

The real tragedy would be if some unscrupulous political types were to use this to derail obama’s 100,000 teachers and getting the rich to pay just a little bit of taxes, their fair share really, jobs bill.

Just like it would’ve been a tragedy if Maj Hassan’s work place violence hurt diversity efforts.

joeindc44 on May 24, 2013 at 12:09 PM

but is that where the money went? Only if we’re preparing Baltimore schoolkids for beauty school and the Love Boat:

Well what the h*ll,and why not,if the Secret Service
nd DEA can afford Hookers,then Teachers Too,need an
outlet,for those hard and exhaustive days of LeftyLoon
Liberal Indoctrination of the “Chillin”!
(sarc)

canopfor on May 24, 2013 at 12:12 PM

Democrat waste – why the bridge fell down in Washington.

forest on May 24, 2013 at 12:12 PM

I don’t know how these things work in Baltimore’s schools, but here in Chandler, Arizona, the last few weeks have been (unofficially) Field Trip Month.
As a school bus driver, I’ve taken kids to dinner theaters, swimming pools, bowling alleys, restaurants, gyms, parks, etc, etc.
No learning going on.
Just burning up money.
Because if they don’t spend it all before the end of the year, they don’t get as much next year.

itsnotaboutme on May 24, 2013 at 12:13 PM

Progressive Party Hardy TaxPayer Lootery!!!

canopfor on May 24, 2013 at 12:13 PM

What? Not on bridges and other infrastructure?

Oh my…who could have predicted that?

ProfShadow on May 24, 2013 at 12:14 PM

Anyone else have scandal fatigue?

LetsBfrank on May 24, 2013 at 12:14 PM

I swear, is every single liberal and leftist out there just a crooked, corrupt, gamer of the system? What is it some super secret prerequisite for becoming a Dimocrat or something? You have to be a lying, cheating, scumbag that would sell out his own mother for a government handout in order to join the party?

Meople on May 24, 2013 at 12:14 PM

Charm City indeed. The jail is being run by the inmates. The schools decide to party like the Obamas. And that is just on the surface. Makes you wonder how much stimulus money made it into the coffers of Democrats.

Happy Nomad on May 24, 2013 at 12:14 PM

Democrat waste – why the bridge fell down in Washington.

forest on May 24, 2013 at 12:12 PM

forest:My thoughts exactly as well!!:)

canopfor on May 24, 2013 at 12:15 PM

Anyone else have scandal fatigue?

LetsBfrank on May 24, 2013 at 12:14 PM

At least these are real scandals not the made-up ones of the Bush years. Not that the left doesn’t want everybody to move on.

Happy Nomad on May 24, 2013 at 12:16 PM

Hey,

its springish,time for FLOTUS to have a Mother/Daughter,
and the Michelle Obama Entourage,

to go on a Spain Vacation!!!

canopfor on May 24, 2013 at 12:17 PM

…Makes you wonder how much stimulus money made it into the coffers of Democrats.

Happy Nomad on May 24, 2013 at 12:14 PM

THAT’S the question that should be investigated. The House oversight committee needs to investigate the Dimocrat “Stimulus” (what, did Weiner come up with that term?) and find out exactly where every single dollar went.

Meople on May 24, 2013 at 12:18 PM

And flyers were probably handed out, “Get free stuff, Vote Obama!”

albill on May 24, 2013 at 12:20 PM

Does anyone honestly expect anything more from the employees of the City of Baltimorons?

JohnGalt23 on May 24, 2013 at 12:20 PM

It’s all about “framing” – you don’t say “Mother-daughter makeovers”, you say “building essential/critical intrafamily bonding and relational support infrastructure”, and “improving self-image/self-esteem in support of positive educational outcomes”.

Kinda scary I can write this stuff. I’m sure it’s pretty amateurish and could be improved greatly by almost any government drone.

Marcola on May 24, 2013 at 12:21 PM

My grandson could have used a little of that money to pay down his portion of the national debt. But that might seem a little selfish. /s

brtex on May 24, 2013 at 12:22 PM

Questioning anything that “the greatest city on earth” does is racist.

Why do you hate children?

This isn’t what it looks like.

The money was gifted to us by the previous mayor.

This is the result of Republican obstructionism.

Bush started it.

Did I mention racism?

Gatsu on May 24, 2013 at 12:23 PM

Anyone else have scandal fatigue?

LetsBfrank on May 24, 2013 at 12:14 PM

LetsBfrank:

Technically yes,however its more of Obama OverLoad
and Saturation of Hopey/Changey *Fatigue*!:)

canopfor on May 24, 2013 at 12:25 PM

Just goes to show, people weren’t voting for Obama this past election, they were voting for Santa Claus, no wonder he won.

I’d vote for Santa Claus too.

Meople on May 24, 2013 at 12:30 PM

Shovel ready projects!!! Shovel ready projects!!! The government shovels us a bunch of crap and we have to eat it.

djaymick on May 24, 2013 at 12:32 PM

Embarrassment for my hometown.. but not unexpected. The city is a complete wasteland run by Democrats.

But at least they have a good football and now baseball team, so there’s that.

davek70 on May 24, 2013 at 12:34 PM

Mistakes were made. Now pay up.

- government

Good Lt on May 24, 2013 at 12:34 PM

I liked Baltimore more once Ray Lewis retired. Now I don’t like it anymore again.

Akzed on May 24, 2013 at 12:36 PM

If you’re an adherent of the Nancy Pelosi school of economics, it doesn’t matter how you spend the money. Just spending it on anything stimulates the economy.

Socratease on May 24, 2013 at 12:43 PM

Forget it, Jake. It’s Baltimore.

Spade on May 24, 2013 at 12:09 PM

Forget it, Jake. It’s Baltimore a suburb of DC.

FIFY!

belad on May 24, 2013 at 12:43 PM

$2,413 on fried chicken and biscuits? No potatoes and gravy?

TexAz on May 24, 2013 at 12:44 PM

Forget it, Jake. It’s Baltimore a suburb of DC.

FIFY!

belad on May 24, 2013 at 12:43 PM

Um…. yeah, that’s how Baltimore views itself. Just a suburb of DC.

Happy Nomad on May 24, 2013 at 12:52 PM

The kids aren’t learning, but they look Maaaah-velous!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXydX9p_ZxA

Ward Cleaver on May 24, 2013 at 12:53 PM

$2,413 on fried chicken and biscuits? No potatoes and gravy?

TexAz on May 24, 2013 at 12:44 PM

And run afoul of the shaved Yeti and her “Lets Move!” campaign?

Happy Nomad on May 24, 2013 at 12:53 PM

The kids aren’t learning, but they look Maaaah-velous!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXydX9p_ZxA

Ward Cleaver on May 24, 2013 at 12:53 PM

Au contraire….they are learning that life on the gubmint plantation ain’t so bad.

belad on May 24, 2013 at 12:58 PM

itsnotaboutme on May 24, 2013 at 12:13 PM

Some of the field trip mania is taking the kids not taking the current round of standardized tests, and letting them be loud somewhere else.

Sekhmet on May 24, 2013 at 1:05 PM

I don’t know how these things work in Baltimore’s schools, but here in Chandler, Arizona, the last few weeks have been (unofficially) Field Trip Month.
As a school bus driver, I’ve taken kids to dinner theaters, swimming pools, bowling alleys, restaurants, gyms, parks, etc, etc.
No learning going on.
Just burning up money.
Because if they don’t spend it all before the end of the year, they don’t get as much next year.

itsnotaboutme on May 24, 2013 at 12:13 PM

Some of the field trip mania is taking the kids not taking the current round of standardized tests, and letting them be loud somewhere else.

Sekhmet on May 24, 2013 at 1:05 PM

Nope.
Here in Chandler, the non-testing kids go home early.

itsnotaboutme on May 24, 2013 at 1:22 PM

That “affirmative action” crap really worked out well for the people paying the bills, in the Peoples Republik of Maryland.

III/0317

dirtengineer on May 24, 2013 at 1:31 PM

Makeovers???!!!
Of course, ANYBODY who has ever had the disgusting experience of being in Baltimore knows that some of the ugliest creatures in the universe live there.

TeaPartyNation on May 24, 2013 at 1:57 PM

WJZ? Does Jay-Z own that too? :)

PattyJ on May 24, 2013 at 2:30 PM

This reminds of an episode in the later seasons of HBO’s ‘The Wire’.
Where the Republican governor of Maryland gets a large chunk of cash from DC for education and infrastructure improvements.

The black mayor of Baltimore demands half right away. And while that is being negotiated, a representative for Prince George’s County (Elijah Cummings, writ large) demands half of what Baltimore’s mayor is going to get. Or he’ll call a few groups to have an evening press conference or riot. Depending on his mood.

Bottom line. Everybody got paid. And the schools, cops, firemen and roads didn’t see dime one!

And everyone wonders why ‘The Wire’ never won an Emmy?

Jack Deth on May 24, 2013 at 2:32 PM

TeaPartyNation on May 24, 2013 at 1:57 PM

A+

I lived there 3 long years.

belad on May 24, 2013 at 2:34 PM

Just goes to show, people weren’t voting for Obama this past election, they were voting for Santa Claus, no wonder he won.

I’d vote for Santa Claus too.

Meople on May 24, 2013 at 12:30 PM

partly… a low turn out election as 8 million of his, 3 million of ours sat home..

The basis of the 3% was the dems skill at renting buses in every urban neighborhood and sending ACORN thugs into apartment buildings to shove grandma out to vote. Threatening their benefits if they DON’T vote.. and like in an Ohio county, having their poll watchers vote multiple times, and help others do the same..

If it’s close.. the dems steal it, that’s just a fact.

So we win, only when the turn out is high on our side, and the margin of victory much bigger.

The DNC also wants 30 million illegals to make sure certain blue states become fortresses of liberal politics, no voter ID, means millions more illegal voters, and they know it.

Add to that, the IRS burying their scandal till after the election.. a media entirely holding Obama’s coat for him..

welcome to the USSA.. newly minted one party thuggacracy..

The next two years will tell the tale, we’ll either recover and find our footing again as a free people. Or… We’ll become two nations, and they don’t have the stones to fight us to force us to stay.

I’m starting to wonder if it’s worth trying to stay one nation, when half of it thinks using the IRS to beat the other half into submission is cool with them. Only during some great disaster, do most democrats remember we’re all Americans, but it never lasts..

The democrats let their extremist fringe take control..

Never thought we’d have to fight (figuratively) on our own soil, just to have the right to make our voices heard. Makes our cold war victory seem pointless, when the real death threat was created in the universities of our own country.

mark81150 on May 24, 2013 at 2:38 PM

KEEP VOTING DEMOCRAT!

tom daschle concerned on May 24, 2013 at 3:15 PM

Maryland using taxpayer money for mother/daughter makeovers?
Sounds about right…

Galtian on May 24, 2013 at 12:06 PM

:( I just have a son, and I desperately need a makeover.

Wait. Isn’t this sexist?

cptacek on May 24, 2013 at 3:16 PM

$2,413 on fried chicken and biscuits? No potatoes and gravy?

TexAz on May 24, 2013 at 12:44 PM

And run afoul of the shaved Yeti and her “Lets Move!” campaign?

Happy Nomad on May 24, 2013 at 12:53 PM

Given the recent dust up on the pro-golf circuit, Tiger Woods is not amused. But Sergio is grinning like a Cheshire cat.

cptacek on May 24, 2013 at 3:17 PM

TeaPartyNation on May 24, 2013 at 1:57 PM

A+

I lived there 3 long years.

belad on May 24, 2013 at 2:34 PM

The 3 years I lived there were even longer.

But what do you expect from a place where Spiro Agnew ran as the “reform candidate”? …And, by comparison, he WAS the “reform candidate”!!

landlines on May 24, 2013 at 4:14 PM

Errors? Those aren’t errors, they are “we gotta spend this money or we won’t get any more.”

rbj on May 24, 2013 at 12:05 PM

Could be. But maybe buy some, I don’t know… paper, or computers or something.

MikeknaJ on May 24, 2013 at 4:15 PM

Baltimore is not the only school system that spends government money inappropriately.

Look at how Taxpayer money was spent in the San Francisco Public Schools…

Six current and former San Francisco Unified School District employees, including an ex-associate superintendent, are facing a total of 205 felony charges for allegedly misappropriating $15 million in public funds, prosecutors said Tuesday.

A three-year investigation found the defendants illegally redirected government grants that were supposed to be used for after-school and health programs for a variety of purposes, including lining their own pockets, prosecutors said. The six allegedly diverted a total of $250,000 over 10 years for their personal use.

“All of this money was inappropriately used,” said District Attorney George Gascón. “We had people in positions of trust diverting money frequently for personal use. This is one of the worst kinds of corruption.”

http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/6-charged-with-stealing-SF-school-funds-4515540.php

How is Taxpayer money being spent in your school district?

wren on May 24, 2013 at 5:12 PM

All you need to do is watch The Wire to learn about Bal’more….

Sherman1864 on May 25, 2013 at 7:45 AM