Durbin urges look at school spending

June 9, 2010 at 11:44 AM
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EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill., June 9 (UPI) -- U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says he's disturbed by allegations of misuse of federal money in East St. Louis (Ill.) School District 189.

Durbin, D-Ill., has asked U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to look into the matter, the Belleville News-Democrat reported Wednesday.

Durbin cited reports in the News-Democrat on the use of federal money spent on consultants and for staff travel, including stays at resort hotels.

"East St. Louis District 189 is one of the poorest school districts in Illinois and a chronic academic underperformer," Durbin said in his letter to Duncan. "The education of these students is in jeopardy if federal funds are misspent or mismanaged."

During the last six years, District 189 has spent at least $3.1 million on consultants, $200,000 on airline tickets and hotels, $10,000 for original artwork and $4,000 for a "historical quilt," the News-Democrat reported.

Superintendent Theresa Saunders could not be reached for comment.

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