State officials say Richland One mistake will cost $3.1 million

State officials say Richland One mistake will cost $3.1 million

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - State education officials say Richland County School District One will be out $3.1 million after missing an important deadline.

Department of Education officials say the district had until Aug. 15 to submit a claim for Title 1 funds. The federal government gr ants those funds to help disadvantaged students in the most impoverished districts.

Education Department spokesman Ryan Brown says they worked with the district, but the district still missed the deadline to submit that paperwork.

"Well, we always encourage, and we, as a state agency, try to be the best stewards of taxpayer dollars, and unfortunately, when things like this happen, we have to hold someone accountable, and that's what happened here," Brown says.

It's the second year in a row Richland One has missed the deadline, and he's hoping it won't happen again.

"We're going to continue to work with the district, Richland School District One and all of the districts across the state, to make sure that the funds are getting where they need to be, which is serving the students that are in need," Brown says.

Now that the $3.1 million expenditure won't be reimbursed with federal funds, it'll have to be paid for with district taxpayer dollars, Brown says.

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Richland One officials say they are currently examining other avenues of funding.

"Depending on the type of expenditures, the expenditures could be covered through General Fund or through other funding sources," spokeswoman Karen York says in a statement.

Townes Denemark, who's been critical of the district's relatively new superintendent in the past, still isn't satisfied with the district or superintendent's response.

"You know, if I were Dr. Witherspoon, I would hope I would be open and honest about the issues that have happened at the administrative level. You know, the buck stops, ultimately, with him," Denemark says.

The Richland One parent believes by missing out on $3.1 million in federal funding, the district will feel some impact. She says Richland One parents need to get more involved by checking agendas, going to meetings, and voting.

Commissioner Beatrice King says that she, too, is worried about the district's budget now that the $3.1 million won't be reimbursed by the federal government.

Another commissioner who was also disappointed by the costly missed deadline. That source says the district does have a new coordinator over Title 1.

The state says even though Richland One won't get those funds because of the missed deadline -- that money will stay in the state and benefit other Title 1 schools in other districts.

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