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Archive for April 7th, 2010

Fraud everywhere

Loyal reader Ironman encouraged me to take another look at the N&R’s front-pager headlined ‘Poverty rises in Guilford schools.’ The article focused on the fact that Irving Park Elementary —located right in the heart of Greensboro’s toniest neighborhood — will become a Title I school this fall.

Ironman was upset that the article didn’t examine the fraud linked to school lunch programs. CJ’s David Bass is all over the story, so I’ll just let his work stand for itself.

I think it’s safe to say that since Irving Park has been an opt-in school for many years —- as the N&R points out —– it’s only logical that it would be dragged down to poverty level, so to speak. But when reading the article, I noted a more subtle fraud taking place:

No Child Left Behind requires that any school where 75 percent of students receive a free or reduced-price lunch be a Title I school, but school districts can lower that threshold to allow more schools into the program.

Last year during its budget discussions, the school board debated lowering those thresholds, hoping the additional funding might offset a budget shortfall. The board abandoned the idea, fearing it would lead to more schools under sanction.

In the comments below the article Guilford County Board of Education member Paul Daniels comes right out and says the “reason for turning a blind eye” to possible fraud is simple—-“Money! The more Title I students you have in a school system the more money you are eligible for. more Title I students you have in a school system the more money you are eligible for.”

This is only going to get worse as budget -strapped school systems keep looking the federal government for more money, with an administration that’s all too happy to oblige.

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Bowles spikes UNCG pharm school

UNC president Erskine Bowles has rejected UNCG’s proposed plan for a school of pharmacy, a move the N&R denounced as “short-sighted.”

I’m not opposed to the pharmacy school itself, although UNC officials admit —surprise—–that funding is problematic. What always makes me wary is when the Greensboro Partnership guys tout such projects as necessary for economic development, which is no doubt the reason why their media partner is so outraged at Bowles’ decision.

Also take note of the comment beneath the N&R article from an area pharmacist.

Read the rest of this entry »

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GOP candidate drops from Davidson sheriff’s race

Edgar Shuler has dropped out of the Davidson County sheriff’s race, endorsing fellow Republican Terry Price over incumbent David Grice in the May primary.

Grice maintains that Price approached him about offering his support in exchange for what was described as “fringe benefits,” meaning employment in some form or fashion. The two candidates sparred at a public forum over cash seizures from drug dealers, the sheriff’s budget and law enforcement experience:

In opening statements, both men touted their qualifications to serve as sheriff. Grice noted that he was about to retire after teaching law enforcement classes for 30 years at Davidson County Community College when the opportunity to serve as sheriff arose following Hege’s resignation in 2004 after he pleaded guilty to two felony counts of obstruction of justice.

“We returned honesty to the sheriff’s office,” Grice said. “We brought integrity back to the sheriff’s office.”

Price said he had more than 32 years of “actual law enforcement experience” before he retired as a captain with the N.C. Highway Patrol. He said he supervised more than 300 Highway Patrol officers in 10 counties at the time of his retirement.

Former Sheriff Gerald Hege did not attend the candidates’ forum.

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G’boro council doings

College Hill residents were on the receiving end of what I like to call a Greensboro ‘City Council special’ —- a unanimous vote approving development of a student housing development on the former Newman Machine Property off Spring Garden Street. The vote was 8-0 —- council member Nancy Vaughan abstained because her husband —–state Sen. Don Vaughan —- was representing College Hill residents in last night’s rezoning hearing.

Vaughan and College Hill residents made the case that another developer would propose a more neighborhood-friendly development if the council turned down this proposal. The council rightly didn’t buy that argument, especially when you look at the way property development’s going here in Greensboro. If they turned down his proposal, the Newman Machine building would likely sit vacant for a very long time.

On the whole, I’d say the process worked. College Hill residents filed a protest petition, and the council approved the project with the necessary supermajority. And although I’m more tolerant of developers than many of my brethren in the local blogosphere, I’m always surprised when the council unanimously approves a project despite such organized protest from affected neighborhoods.

Meanwhile, the council voted 5-4 to kill the controversial amphitheater project at the Greensboro Coliseum complex. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t in favor of continuing the amphitheater, but now $130,000 in taxpayers’ money has been flushed down the toilet. Coliseum director Matt Brown constantly talks about ‘sponsorship dollars,’ so perhaps he will find a sponsor to finish the project. Perhaps.

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