U.S. Office Of Overseas Schools Mishandled $3 Million In Grants

Office of Overseas Schools spending
Credit: Open the Books

By Adam Andrzejewski for RealClearPolicy

The U.S. Office of Overseas Schools is a federal agency designed to help U.S. government employees abroad send their children to good, safe schools that meet American educational standards.

While they have undoubtedly helped thousands of U.S. children abroad receive a good education, their woeful mismanagement has led to over $3,000,000 that “could have been put to better use”, according to an Inspector General Report. That may not seem like much in terms of government spending, but it constitutes $1 in every $4 of grant funding during a typical year.

Administratively, their office has struggled with standardizing procedures and sharing information, which led to not only inefficiencies, but safety and security issues. The report claims that “office staff did not coordinate or share information among themselves, resulting in overseas schools and embassy staff having to provide information multiple times in response to separate requests.”

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The Inspector General also found that the Office of Overseas Schools “did not prepare risk assessments and monitoring plans for its grants.” These are important because “they provide tools…to mitigate the impact of risks prior to making an award. They also define oversight steps…to ensure that award objectives have been met.”

So, they didn’t have a plan to make sure grants were going to the right people, and they never followed up on if the grantees ever followed through on their projects.

The greatest financial malpractice, however, comes from their failure to review unliquidated obligations and are supposed to be “de-obligated” within 90-days of the performance deadline. The report found that “21 awards had unliquidated obligations totaling $3.05 million.” These open transactions tied up other money that could have been used for legitimate purposes.

It is depressing that such a large sum of money wasn’t handled with care, both because the taxpayers paid for it and because the education of children hangs in the balance.

The #WasteOfTheDay is presented by the forensic auditors at OpenTheBooks.com.

Syndicated with permission from Real Clear Wire.

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