By Associated Press - Saturday, April 25, 2015

CLEVELAND (AP) - The state plans a special audit after a Cleveland schools panel determined the district didn’t collect $8.5 million in federal rebates for which it was pre-approved.

A construction watchdog panel found the district missed out on money to help pay for Internet equipment and technology put in new schools from 2006 to 2011.

Exactly why, however, has remained unclear. In some cases, the district didn’t submit appropriate receipts for reimbursement, CEO Eric Gordon previously told the school board.

After reading the watchdog panel’s report, state Auditor Dave Yost decided this week to do the special audit over the rebates. The office will try to follow the complicated paper trail wherever it leads, but there’s no timetable for that review, Yost’s spokeswoman, Carrie Bartunek, told The Plain Dealer (

“There’s no lawyer-client privilege with us,” Bartunek said. “They can’t tell us not to look at something if they don’t want us to.”

The district says it will cooperate with the audit. It also has hired two lawyers to separately review what happened and has promised to publicly release the findings of its investigation.

State school board member Mary Rose Oakar pushed for the audit, the newspaper reported. In a statement, Oakar said she wants answers about record-keeping and bidding on the technology projects and whether school officials were negligent.


Information from: The Plain Dealer,

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