Auditor report: DCPS failed to effectively monitor contract, was overbilled $421K

A contractor hired by D.C. Public Schools refused to provide documentation to support $5.36 million in invoices and overbilled DCPS more than $421,000, according to a new report from the D.C. auditor.

The auditor’s office said it received information from a D.C. resident asking the office to review DCPS’ hiring of Performance Management Services to provide teachers under Title I.

“The individual alleged that PMS did not have experience in educational services or staff to perform duties related to Title I services,” the auditor’s office wrote.

Title I is the largest source of federal funding for education, which is in place to ensure kids get equitable and quality education.

The Office of the D.C. Auditor (ODCA) then conducted its own risk assessment and “identified several high-risk areas in DCPS’s management and oversight of this contract.”

Those areas included PMS’ “refusal to provide contract deliverables to support invoices, and noncompliance with (Certified Business Enterprise) law.”

PMS was the highest-scoring bidder for the contract it won, the auditor said, “but we have concerns about the process and information PMS submitted. For example, PMS made misrepresentations on its technical proposal and CBE application that DCPS did not detect,” the report states.

ODCA’s report goes on to say that neither DCPS nor PMS provided the office with documentation to support $5.36 million in payments to PMS.

“These payments included $421,585 in PMS overbilling that DCPS did not detect,” the report said.

The report also cites “DCPS’s incomplete oversight of PMS teachers in the areas of background checks, and child abuse and neglect training,” which they said “increased risks to children.”

In addition, according to the report, PMS President John Armstrong “stated that he was a certified public accountant (CPA) licensed by the Virginia Board of Accountancy.”

The office said it couldn’t find that license in a national CPA database, and that the Virginia Board of Accountancy “confirmed that PMS’s president did not hold a CPA license.”

In an emailed response to the draft report, included in the report itself, DCPS Chancellor Lewis Ferebee wrote that the school system agreed with some of the ODCA recommendations while disagreeing with others.

Read the full report online.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Editor and reporter for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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