DOE fails Comptroller's audit on contract with non-profit Leadership Academy

- Money that was supposed to be used to coach principals and teachers at the New York City Leadership Academy cannot be accounted for.

More than half a million dollars for teacher and principal training and no sign in sheets, attendance or progress reports are some claims being made by City Comptroller Scott Stringer about the NYC Leadership Academy in Long Island City.

However, the Department of Education said it's all by the book.

It's the first lesson in spending 101- make sure you get what you pay for, but Scott Stringer said in this class, the Department of Education is not earning a passing grade based on the results of his recent audit.

"We found that the DOE paid for training without evidence the training was ever provided. Our auditors found that 98% of those payments weren't adequately backed up," said Stringer.

On it's website, the non-profit NYC Leadership Academy explains its mission as ‘expanding school system leaders to help all students thrive, especially in underserved communities.’

Stringer questions whether that was actually going on at their Long Island City offices.

"They didn't have time sheets, a basic form of proof that services were delivered. Basic, required record keeping was missing. That means there's a real risk the DOE made improper payments and a real risk that it's been exposed to fraud or abuse," he said.

In response to the draft of the audit late last month, DOE Deputy Chancellor Phil Weinberg told the Comptroller's office that the DOE would reinforce with its staff that all necessary records must be collected and reviewed before any payments are approved.

Stringer said it goes beyond the money, "Here's why it's important. It comes down to our kids and every cent matters. When adults don't do their job and oversight, our kids pay the price."

Stringer said since 2008, the non-profit has received just $100 million in city contracts.

The DOE told Stringer's office in June that the contracts were being handled properly, but that it would adopt some of his recommendations.

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