State takes away $300,000 grant for Auburn schools after appeal filed

Posted May 22, 2012, at 11:36 a.m.

AUBURN, Maine — A $300,000 grant the state Department of Education awarded to local schools on April 21 has been rescinded because another school district appealed the process, DOE spokesman David Connerty-Marin said Monday.

Auburn School Department’s loss of the $300,000 grant will mean there will be no expansion of a summer and after-school program for disadvantaged students in grades K-2 this summer, Superintendent Katy Grondin said.

“It’s disappointing,” she said. “We had already done a lot of planning, a lot of work serving the K-2 population.” No grant will not affect existing after-school enrichment programs for students in grades 3-10, Grondin said.

Connerty-Marin said the situation is unusual.

Recently the department found itself with $1 million in federal 21st Century Community Learning Center funds, and decided to award the money to districts allowing them to expand existing student enrichment programs.

When the request for proposals went out, it should have said that districts that have not made annual yearly progress in test scores, and have high numbers of Title I, or disadvantaged students, would get extra points in the bidding process. But the request for proposals did not say that, Connerty-Marin said.

A Bath program that did not get funding contended “the scoring had been done improperly, and filed an appeal,” Connerty-Marin said.

After reviewing the wording of the request for proposals, and checking with the Maine attorney general’s office, the department agreed the process was flawed, and is now considering how to award the money.

The department may start over and send out new requests for proposals.

“Our goal is to get the money out as quickly as possible,” Connerty-Marin said. “We’re not happy with how this played out.”

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