Metro schools, state officials reach agreement on federal grants management

Monday, December 12, 2011 at 5:25pm

Metro Nashville Public Schools has entered into a memorandum of understanding on grant management with the Tennessee Department of Education, an agreement reached after the state labeled the district a “high-risk grantee” for federal funds in 2008.

The Metro school board is set to review the agreement at Tuesday’s board meeting. Tennessee Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman and Director of Schools Jesse Register have already signed the document.

“This agreement validates the work we are doing through MNPS Achieves,” Register said in a statement, referencing the name of his education reform agenda. “We are well on our way to transforming this district into one of academic and operational excellence.”

According to the memorandum, the state in April 2008 placed Metro on “high-risk status” for all U.S. Department of Education grant programs in response to “significant monitoring findings” on student achievement.

For the past three years, Metro has worked with the state department of education to resolve issues that led to the district receiving the high-risk grantee label.

“Since being designated as a high-risk grantee, MNPS has designated extensive resources to re-establish its financial management and procurement systems, implement strong internal controls, and take corrective actions towards operating a fully compliant grants management system,” the agreement reads.

“[The department of education] recognizes that MNPS has exhibited strong leadership in light of its unique challenges to resolve its compliance issues,” it continues.

With the agreement, Metro will be the subject of monitoring by the department of education for compliance of fiscal and grants management areas. Failure to comply with various grant management guidelines would make the agreement null.

The memorandum says the agreement is intended to achieve the following objectives:

• Sustain the efforts to improve district operations

• Facilitate the effective use of Federal education funds in Metro Schools

• Ensure the responsible stewardship of federal funds allocated to MNPS under Title I, Part A and other federal education programs

• Sustain the new financial management procedures, procurement systems, internal control procedures