New York City Department of Education
Funding and Monitoring of the High School Attendance Improvement and Dropout Prevention Program State aid is distributed to school districts on the basis of complex formulas and the districtsí eligibility for certain educational programs. One such program is the Attendance Improvement and Dropout Prevention (AIDP) program, in which certain school districts are eligible to receive additional funds to improve their attendance rates and reduce their dropout rates. AIDP funds are restricted, as they must be used for these authorized purposes only (e.g., to hire additional family counselors or attendance coordinators). Most AIDP funding is provided to New York City schools, and our audit examined the New York City Department of Educationís administration of AIDP funds in its high schools.
We identified weaknesses in the Departmentís distribution and monitoring of the funds. For example, the funds are to be distributed to certain designated high schools, each of which is to receive a certain budgeted amount. However, we found that some of the designated schools received significantly less than they were budgeted, some received significantly more, and some received no AIDP funding at all. We also determined that, contrary to program requirements, many of the schools did not target for program services students considered most at risk of low attendance or dropping out; rather, they planned to use their AIDP funds on behalf of their entire student population. In such instances, students may not receive the full intended benefit of AIDP-funded services. We also found that program goals related to academic performance and student attendance were not achieved by the high schools. We recommended the Department monitor how AIDP funds are used and make assessments about the effectiveness of the various AIDP program activities.
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