Posted on: September 16, 2010
Contact: Robert Ross, Legal Counsel, 520-225-6040, Robert.Ross@tusd1.org
TUSD has taken steps to end its support of an adult-education program connected with “Promotoras del Barrio,” after identifying disallowable uses of federal Title I funds. Title I, Part A allows expenses for parent involvement and literacy programs. Over time, the Promotoras del Barrio activities expanded from literacy programs into tuition for areas not covered by Title I expenses such as health, human, and social services. These activities were allowable under other funding sources, such as grants through the University of Arizona and other federal agencies.
Promotoras, in the traditional sense, are community members who serve as liaisons between their community and health, human and social service organizations. The Promotora model of community outreach is based on a Latin American program that reaches underserved populations through peer education. TUSD’s Promotoras played a key role in mentoring young women to develop leadership skills and to act as advocates on vital health issues such as cervical cancer, mammograms, lead paint and respiratory issues. However, such programs cannot be funded by terms of the Title I grant.
TUSD’s connection with the Promotoras began as an educational outreach program in 2003, but evolved into a more traditional Promotoras program focusing on health and social services. In August, 2009, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Lupita Garcia identified this shift in focus, halted funding of the adult education program, and subsequently initiated a months-long investigation into the Promotoras program’s operations and financing. In December, 2009, Rosalva Bullock, the employee who administered the program, requested and was granted a district-approved leave. In cooperation with TUSD, the Arizona Department of Education and the Attorney General are also now conducting a review of disallowed uses of Title I funds.