Bibb Commissioner Asks for Federal Probe of School District | Schools
The Bibb County School District is preparing a response to a county commissioner's call for the U.S. Attorney to investigate a "possible misuse of federal funds" by the school district.
Commissioner Joe Allen declined to discuss details of what crime may have been committed or provide what evidence he might have. He said he was bringing his request to U.S. Attorney Michael Moore's office.
Allen held a news conference at the Bibb County commissioners' office to say he's asking Moore to convene a special grand jury. He said the grand jury should investigate "both the current administration as well as past board members."
District spokesman Donald Porter says school officials and their lawyers are working on a response that should be released sometime Wednesday. Several board of education members declined comments or could not be reached for comment.
His request comes as the school district is answering questions about its handling of the federal Promise Neighborhood program. That effort is aimed at improving student performance in some Bibb neighborhoods by improving their overall quality of life.
In a lawsuit filed earlier this month, the district's former chief financial officer, Ron Collier, claims that he was removed from his job for raising questions about a $1 million payment connected to the Macon Promise Neighborhood program.
And a school-district audit last week said school administrators signed agreements that committed millions of dollars to the program without approval of the school board.
The program is funded partially by a federal grant.
Allen's statement does not mention the Promise program or school Supt. Romain Dallemand.
He wrote that the grand jury should look at:
- Whether any past or present school employees have received improper compensation.
- Whether any Board of Education members improperly benefited from dealings with any private companies.
- Whether any school employee was punished in retaliation for their actions in overseeing any federal spending.
- Whether the district violated any federal bidding rules.
Late Tuesday afternoon, U.S. Attorney Michael Moore said he had received Allen's letter and would decide how to proceed. He said he generally would not comment any further on grand jury matters.
Read Allen's statement here: