PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OFFICE OF DR. STEVE GALLON III
September 10, 2021
The School Board of Miami-Dade County remains committed to promoting and maintaining a high level of accountability, integrity, and transparency in the operation of the school district and in its role as a fiduciary. It also values its role in working collaboratively and transparently with local municipalities and community partners in achieving its educational mission and goals that serve, support, and improve the broader community. One such collaborative is the County created Driver’s Education Safety Trust Fund. This Trust was established in 2002 to fund and support traffic education programs in public and non-public schools. These funds are to be used for direct educational expenses. These expenses are to provide enhancements—not subsidies to the driver education program and facilitate accessibility to both public and private school students.
Recently, on September 2, 2021, the Miami-Dade County Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issued the OIG Final Report of Investigation-Miami-Dade County Public Schools Driver Education Program; IG-17-0001-SI. The Report concluded that the District submitted $6.2 million in ineligible expenses for reimbursement to the Miami-Dade County Driver’s Education Trust Fund (Trust Fund). The Superintendent, in a memo dated September 3, 2021, does not dispute the findings of the OIG report; yet concurs with its recommendations and indicates that the Administration has begun to develop, implement, and monitor an appropriate plan of action to ensure full compliance in the future.
In its Report released, the OIG found that the District submitted $6,281,814.74 of ineligible expenses to the County for reimbursement from the Driver’s Education Safety Trust Fund; failed to offer driver education classes to private school students as required by the ILA with Miami-Dade County; and allegedly violated the Federal Individuals with Disabilities Act beginning with the 2015-2016 school year until the suspension of the DEP in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This item directed the Superintendent to initiate rulemaking procedures to amend School Board Policy 2432 to include a description of the Drivers Education Program and the intended student population it serves, as well as provisions that include, but are not limited to, compliance with those outlined in the Driver’s Education Safety Trust Fund; offering of driver education classes to students as required by the ILA with Miami-Dade County and/or any related statutes, ordinances, and/or agreements; and compliance with any and all applicable state and federal laws governing the delivery of the Driver Education Program in M-DCPS.
“I am thankful for the unanimous support of my colleagues on this very concerning matter,” said Dr. Gallon. “By courageously leaning into our roles as policymakers, an amendment to this School Board policy will strengthen this District’s ability to describe its Drivers Education Program and the student population it serves, as well as guide and ensure its compliance with all relevant and applicable statutes, ordinances, agreements, and requirements.”
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CONTACT: Pavi’Elle Phillips