BEDFORD, Ind.— A newly released audit from the Indiana Department of Education found violations at the North Lawrence Career Center that will impact the center as well as participating school corporations including Brownstown, Medora, Mitchell, Orleans and Shoals.
The career center offers more than a dozen programs to high school students including construction trades, graphic design, welding, and health science.
In a June 5 letter to North Lawrence Community Schools superintendent Gary Conner, the Indiana Department of Education demanded the center and participating schools reimburse the state $449,064.82 for false and inaccurate reporting for funding.
The IDOE audit released this week found eight teachers within the Career and Technology Education (CTE) District 40 were not appropriately licensed to teach the courses they were assigned.
Five of the teachers were at the career center, two were at Brownstown, and one was teaching at Shoals.
All career and technology education classes should be taught by appropriately licensed teachers, read the audit.
The Indiana Department of Education also could not find documentation to show two courses designated as “dual credit” were being taught by properly credentialed teachers.
The audit also found 37 out of 50 students enrolled in Interdisciplinary Cooperative Education (ICE) courses had not completed the prerequisite courses.
Also, a review of student transcripts found 42 out of 50 students enrolled in ICE courses did not actually attend the classes.
“Likewise, these same students were reported as being present at the worksites associated with the ICE program, but there was no evidence of their actually being at the worksite,” read the IDOE audit. “There was also no documentation showing that anyone at the Career Center or the school corporations in which these students were enrolled, had verified these students were attending class or participating in their worksites.”
The IDOE audit also found the district CTE director and the superintendent requested and received funding for two unapproved courses which were taught in place of approved courses, which resulted in the center and schools receiving funding they weren’t entitled to.
Another finding in the audit showed Perkins federal grant recipients are supposed to have an advisory board that meets at least twice a year, but there was no evidence of any advisory boards for the career center.
The state also criticized the center when they were unable to locate equipment supposedly purchased with Perkins grant federal money.
In total, the state audit listed eight total findings and a slew of corrective actions it expects the North Lawrence Career Center and participating schools to implement.
The case will remain open until IDOE is satisfied that sufficient corrective measures have been taken and there is compliance with all State and Federal requirements.
“To ensure that financial, program and course integrity are reestablished at the NLCC, North Lawrence and its partners intend to cooperate fully with the IDOE,” read a statement from North Lawrence Community Schools. “As the districts are carefully reviewing the report and are in the early stages of a corrective action plan, they request your patience in their responding to questions. As a comprehensive plan of action comes together, the NLCC will continue to share information with its stakeholders through its various information platforms.”