- 1.Education Funding
Mid Central Takes Action On Finances, Dodges Questions About GEAR UP
- 2.Education Funding
Possible Grant Money Shortfalls Concern Reservation Schools
- 3.Education Funding
State Working With U.S. Education Dept. On GEAR UP Transfer
Our KELOLAND News investigation revealed some of the problems surrounding the multimillion dollar GEAR UP grant that caused the state to end its partnership with Mid Central. But new questions have also surfaced surrounding other grants the educational cooperative administered.
This week we're dedicating the whole show to the Build Dakota scholarship, that offers qualified students a free ride to South Dakota's tech schools.
Friday, we tracked down Governor Dennis Daugaard to ask about the financial troubles surrounding GEAR UP.
In an Oct. 1 letter addressed to Dan Dryden, chair of the government operations and audit committee, Governor Daugaard outlines his response to the questions that have come up following the Platte tragedy.
Phelps administered the GEAR UP program which prepared and encouraged Native American students to enroll into higher educaton.
Mid Central Educational Cooperative dispersed the grant money since 2005 to two organizations to run the GEAR UP program, under business manager Scott Westerhuis.
Mid Central got $16.5 million in federal money through the state in the last ten years to administer the GEAR UP program to encourage Native American Students to go to college.
The letter, signed by Deptartment of Education Secretary Melody Schopp, lists eight reasons for the decision not to continue to steer federal grant money for GEAR UP to Mid Central to administer.
Chief of staff Tony Venhuizen said he doesn't know whether any GEAR UP employees have lost their jobs, but that Schopp did not fire any herself.
The South Dakota GEAR UP program has been around since 1992 and it gets millions of dollars in federal funds distributed through the state department of education. But how that money was being used came into question in an audit last year and the findings were troubling.
Hours before the Westerhuis home was found ablaze in Platte, the company Scott Westerhuis works for had just lost a multi-million dollar contract with the South Dakota Department of Education.
Black Hills State University said the U.S. Department of Education has awarded the school a five-year grant of nearly $1.5 million to help increase graduation rates.
The school in Aberdeen says the donation will fund programs of the Northern State University Foundation and Wolves Club, which provides scholarships for student-athletes.
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