FALLS CHURCH, Va. (CBSDC) – Fairfax County Public Schools is repaying a hefty fine as punishment from the federal government.
The school system is repaying $1 million to the federal government for forging signatures on an application for grant money that was used to help at-risk students prepare for college and careers, according to a report from the Washington Examiner. The report says this fine was eight years in the making.
The U.S. Department of Education was actually seeking a multimillion dollar fine under the False Claims Act, says the Examiner, but the Justice Department decided to settle with FCPS after years of waiting.
The school system was falsely given $2.7 million over the course of five years as part of the Gear Up college readiness program at Glasgow Middle School, which was given to the school for having a substantial number of its students qualify for free or reduced lunch, as well as students who spoke English as their second language.
The program was designed to help these underprivileged students research careers they were interested in, and then formulate educational plans to help them reach those careers, as outlined in a report by the Department of Education. The report says approximately 1,200 students were served by the Glasgow program.
The transgression came in the application process for the grant, according to the report by the Examiner, which requested proof that Glasgow Middle had established matching funds from private companies. The school did not receive these matching funds, but a school employee applying for the grant reportedly lied and said it had attained the required money, then forged signatures making it seem legitimate.
Another report from 2000 says part of the funds also went to J.E.B. Stuart High School in Falls Church.