Detroit schools miss deadline for $4M grant - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Detroit schools miss deadline for $4M grant

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DETROIT (WJBK) - A spokesperson for Detroit Public School blames a computer glitch for losing the district millions of dollars that would have been used to help low income children.

"We did not handle that application in a timely fashion and thus are not eligible for those funds," says Steve Wasco.

And just like that, $4.3 million in free money went down the drain. Those dollars allocated to Detroit's Head Start program are now not available to incoming Detroit preschoolers next school year.  

DPS officials blame a computer glitch, waiting until the last minute e-file the grant application only to find out there was trouble in cyberspace,

"At the end of the day, we missed the deadline and we are not eligible for the funds and we understand that," he says. He adds the district is in the process of investigating the entire procedure internally.

"They've known about the application process well over a year and they could have submitted it at any time. Why wait until he last minute?" says Detroit School Board President Lamar Lemmons.

He calls this failure a deliberate, systematic dismantling of Detroit Public Schools. The Head Start program has served 30 million children across the country since 1965, and more than 900 kids in Detroit just last year.

Head Start offers free lunches, medical referrals and social services like parenting workshops, English language classes and, in some cases, transportation and even home visits.

In a city where more than 80 percent of Detroit children qualify for reduced lunch there is no room for error.

"The children are the ones who are suffering in the end and an entire society is suffering as a direct result," says Lemmons.

But DPS has a different spin, announcing a Pre-K expansion using federal funds from Title One and Great Start Readiness programs to add 540 Pre-K seats to 34 new classrooms.

A spokesman for DPS told FOX 2's Maurielle Lue next year's preschoolers and their families will receive the same benefits Head Start would typically offer.

"There is no change in the level of services; there is no change in the curriculum; there is no change in the program; the difference is the funding source," says Wasco.
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