Scandal brings change to education oversight

BOSTON (WWLP) — An education scandal is giving legislators the opportunity to reevaluate specific aspects of the school system.

Lawmakers are seeking to improve educational collaboratives to prevent wasteful spending at the state's expense.

Legislation passed earlier this year addresses abuses in education agencies, and created the Massachusetts Educational Collaborative Commission.  The Commission's role is to see if the legislation is working and to re-evaluate the entire collaborative system, such as access to education, salaries, and relationships with related non-profits. 

The changes come after a scandal last year, when the former executive director of the Merrimack Special Educational Collaborative allegedly misspent $11.5 million to boost his salary, and on personal expenses.

“We did fully address the issue, but a legislative concept and the reality when it hits the ground sometimes are different, so we just want to follow up on that,” said Rep. Alice Peisch (D-Wellesley).

The Commission is inviting the public to comment on educational collaboratives at a State House hearing on December 19. Their deadline to file a report on this niche area of the education system is May of next year.

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