updated 10:55 am EDT, Fri October 7, 2005
E-Rate funding abuse
The Pomona Unified School District has been accused of in violation of the federal E-Rate program, purchasing hundreds of PowerBook laptops and other items. According to a Daily Bulletin investigation, the items were bought through a company -- Spectrum -- whose director of research and education, Joseph Jaramillo, happens to be the brother of Pomona School District's director of technology, David Jaramillo. Close to 90-percent of the cost of the laptops purchased from Spectrum was paid for with money from the E-Rate federal program, designed to connect low-income schools to the Internet, while the remaining 11-percent was paid with district bond money, according to a report from dailybulliten.com.
All purchases were approved by the Pomona Unified School Board, and Pomona is being audited by the federal government for its E-Rate spending in 2005, though it has not been audited for prior years. A representative of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which is investigating the E-Rate program nationwide, said today that possible abuse in Pomona comes as no shock, according to the report. Terry Lane, committee spokesman said: "abuse of the E-Rate program is varied and widespread, and news of a similar case in Pomona is not a surprise."
Update: Joseph Jaramillo was hired by an independent company named Meshwork and is not the director of research and education, as first noted by the article.