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August 29, 2017 04:01 PM

The $1 Million GEAR UP Evaluator Also Had $300K In State Contracts

GOAC requested that Schopp and others involved in the GEAR UP grant testify before the committee Tuesday, but they all declined to appear.  

However, the committee went over their written answers and gathered some new information.  

They learned that South Dakota State Representative Kirsten Conzet of Rapid City helped Stacy Phelps write the first GEAR UP grant application back in 2005.  

They also learned that in addition to the more than $1 million Brinda Kuhn was paid by Mid Central for her various roles in the GEAR UP and College Access grants, Kuhn also had contracts with the state for nearly $300,000 from 2008 to 2012.  

Sen. Deb Peters said the state has a "record retention" issue and that those contracts may no longer be available.  

There were a number of questions members of the committee will get answered at its next meeting.  

The Department of Legislative Audit also confirmed that GEAR UP consultant Rick Melmer was paid by USD while also drawing a paycheck for his work on the grant.  

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