Tuesday, December 02, 2008

DCPS contracts going unpaid

Bad news on the Special Education front as DCPS has apparently screwed up their budgeting process, stiffing dozens of vendors in the process.
City and school officials told The Examiner that the fiscal 2009 budget wasn’t properly “loaded,” meaning the correct amounts of money weren’t placed in the proper accounts. As a result, payments to numerous private companies and schools that provide services to special education students weren’t made for more than a month.

This week, city officials scrambled to make good on hundreds of thousands of dollars in past due bills.

The District is under a federal consent decree stemming from a class-action lawsuit; it requires the city to pay its special ed vendors promptly. The suit was filed on behalf of thousands of disabled or mentally ill children who couldn’t get the help they needed because the city didn’t pay its bills on time. Plaintiff lawyer Brad Johnson told The Examiner that he and his team were preparing contempt papers if the District didn’t make good on its obligations.

“Clearly, they’re in violation,” he said. “Our position is that if payment is not made immediately, then, yeah, the defendants are definitely flirting with contempt.”

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