Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has released an accounting report that examines how two Pulaski County school districts account for their state desegregation funding.
McDaniel hired Chicago-based Navigant Consulting to review the millions of dollars channeled annually to the North Little Rock and Pulaski County Special School Districts. The report does not include funding sent to the Little Rock School District.
Both Pulaski County and North Little Rock districts are facing fiscal-distress findings from the Arkansas Department of Education.
The Navigant report indicates that during the past five years the two districts have spent large sums of money for non-desegregation purposes or they are unable to account for how millions of dollars have been spent within the districts.
Of $105.6 million in desegregation funds received by the Pulaski County Special School District since 2006, Navigant found that only $61.5 million, or about 58 percent, has been recorded as spent on desegregation purposes.
The North Little Rock School District has received $45.1 million over the same time period. Navigant’s report said it “is largely impossible to determine what portion of the [North Little Rock] Desegregation Funding, if any, was actually used for desegregation related purposes.”
The state provides about $70 million annually to the three Pulaski County school districts to satisfy court orders that were designed to assist in desegregation efforts. To date, the state has provided more than $1 billion in desegregation payments to the three districts.
“Until now, there has been no clear-cut accounting of how the school districts spend these tax dollars,” McDaniel said. “These reports make clear that these districts need to take greater care in accounting and appropriating this money. We hope the districts use the findings in these reports to take care of their current responsibilities and as a basis to start planning for the future, so that they can maintain academic and fiscal integrity when the payments end.”
Navigant is currently analyzing the Little Rock School District’s financial records. McDaniel says the district is not being cooperative with Navigant’s efforts.
You can read the North Little Rock report at this link. The Pulaski County report can be accessed here.