$1.3M tutoring scandal latest to rock Detroit Public Schools
- The latest Detroit Public Schools corruption case sees former director of grant development Carolyn Starkey-Darden accused of billing the district $1.275 million from companies she created for non-existent tutoring services.
- The 69-year-old spent seven years submitting false documents with fabricated test scores, attendance records, parent signatures and personalized learning plans, the Detroit Free Press reports, noting a 2008 email that instructed an employee at a tutoring firm owned by her husband to put in real student information "when and if we get real ones."
- Starkey-Darden was a 38-year employee of the district, and DPS Transition Manager Steven Rhodes called the federal crime "inexcusable" and "a clear violation of the public trust that has robbed our students and staff of nearly $1.8 million in resources."
Starkey-Darden and husband Anthony Darden reportedly caught the FBI's attention in 2011 due to $6.1 million in federal funds meant for tutoring at underperforming schools that ultimately landed in the hands of their after-school tutoring firms Grants-N-Such, MI Learning Unlimited and The Learning Unlimited Companies.
Detroit's schools have been plagued with issues for several years now, from the failures of the state-run Education Achievement Authority to a recent investigation revealing the alarming state of disrepair of many buildings. Add to that a number of scandals, including a $2.7 million school supplies kickback scheme by 14 DPS employees and an investigation of former chief academic and accountability officer Barbara Byrd-Bennett, who also found herself embroiled in scandal as Chicago Public Schools CEO, and there's no easy fix for the city's public schools in the near term.
- Detroit Free Press Feds: New $1.3M tutoring scam uncovered at Detroit schools
Follow Roger Riddell on Twitter