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November 18, 2014

Boston Watchdog Blasts Spending by Schools Foundation

An investigation by Boston's fiscal watchdog agency found that city schools leaders channeled hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars into a nonprofit group that essentially served as a slush fund, The Boston Globe writes. The Boston Finance Commission said money deposited in Boston Educational Development Foundation accounts was used for holiday parties, first-class airfare, and moving expenses for a departing official, among other questionable expenses.

Revenue from renting out school facilities, selling old equipment, and leasing school buses that should have gone into city coffers instead went to the nonprofit, which was established in 1984 to raise private funds for Boston schools. The commission examined activity in some but not all foundation accounts from 2008 through 2012.

Matthew Cahill, the watchdog agency's executive director, called for an independent audit of all spending by the foundation, which had $13.4-million in cash and assets as of June 2013. Interim Superintendent John McDonough, a former treasurer of the foundation, said the Boston school system has stopped depositing city revenue into foundation accounts and tightened controls on the nonprofit's spending.