Parents question Chippewa Valley spending

MACOMB TOWNSHIP, Mich. - Unhappy with spending on such things as catered meals and fruit baskets, as well as the use of bond money to purchase land, two parents have asked state officials to look into Chippewa Valley Schools' finances, according to The Detroit News. In response, school officials told The News that while some may disagree with how the money was spent, all purchases were legal.

The district has a $130 million budget and spends about $3,600 annually on meals for those who attend meetings, as well as about $3,100 every two years to send fruit baskets to employees who experience a death in the family, school board President Henry Chiodini told The News. He also said that using bond money to purchase land for building trades projects was discussed with state officials prior to the purchase.

The parents, John Schmitz and Grace Caporuscio, called some spending wasteful and have sent several years' worth of receipts, among other documents, to state departments with a request for an investigation, according to The News. The request comes at the same time that the Mackinac Center for Public Policy has asked all Macomb County school districts to post their checkbook registers online for public review, The News reported. The Mackinac Center publishes Michigan Education Digest.

Kenneth Braun, director of the Mackinac Center's Transparency Project, told The News he had been particularly concerned with Chippewa Valley Schools, where two employees have been convicted of job-related theft in the past five years.

District officials plan to sit down with Caporuscio to address her concerns, Diane Blain, district spokeswoman, told The News.

The Detroit News, "Parents ask state to probe Chippewa Valley district," Jan. 13, 2009

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Transparency Project Director Asks Macomb County School Districts to Publish their Checkbook Registers," Jan. 6, 2009