New York City Department of Education

Monitoring of Supplemental Educational Services Providers

Supplemental Educational Services (SES) are special federally funded tutoring services that are offered to low-income students at elementary schools, middle schools and high schools where a significant portion of the student population is not meeting certain academic performance goals. The services are to be offered by qualified contractors before or after school or on weekends. In the 2006-07 school year, the New York City Department of Education (DoE) contracted with 108 SES providers and paid them about $74 million for their tutoring sessions with more than 55,000 students. We examined whether the payments made to the contractors were accurate and the services were provided in accordance with contract requirements.

We found that DoE was at risk of overpaying the providers, because the payments were based on unreliable attendance data that was submitted by the providers. We recommended that DoE address certain questionable attendance recordkeeping practices and establish a process for verifying some of the providersí attendance data on a routine basis. We also found that the size of some tutoring classes exceeded the limits specified in the contracts. We recommended that DoE improve and expand its monitoring coverage to better ensure that critical contract requirements were being met.

All provider employees who work with SES students must be checked for criminal histories and be cleared to work with children. However, when we verified the clearance status of the tutors and other such employees of 26 sampled providers, we found that 37 employees, at 10 of the providers, were not cleared to work with children, and 156 other employees, at 12 providers, might have lacked the proper clearance status. We recommended that DoE take immediate action to ensure these individuals not participate in SES activities involving contact with students until they were cleared for such contact, take immediate action to confirm the clearance status of the individuals employed by the providers not in our sample, and more closely monitor provider compliance with the clearance requirement.

For a complete copy of Report 2007-N-22 click here.