WASHINGTON – The Puerto Rico Department of Education (PRDE) has paid over $19 million to settle allegations that the PRDE falsely certified its eligibility to receive federal funds under the Migrant Education Program, the Justice Department announced today.
Under the Migrant Education Program, the U.S. Department of Education provides funds to states and territories to assist state education agencies in providing appropriate educational services that address the special needs of migrant children. The regulations governing the Migrant Education Program enumerate specific criteria for state education agencies to use in identifying migrant children. The states and territories are responsible for providing to the U.S. Education Department an accurate count of eligible migratory children residing within their jurisdictions.
The federal government alleged that the PRDE falsely certified that it had eligible migratory children residing in Puerto Rico when it did not, and from 2001 to 2004 the PRDE received Migrant Education Program funds to which it was not entitled. In FY 2005 the PRDE ceased receiving Migrant Education Program funds, and in fiscal year 2006 the PRDE terminated its participation in the Migrant Education Program.
The PRDE agreed that a prior offset of the settlement amount – $19,052,908.36 – from other federal program funds that the U.S. Department of Education owed to the PRDE satisfied its payment obligation pursuant to this agreement.
This settlement resulted from a collaborative investigation by the Office of the U.S. Attorney for District of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Inspector General, and the Justice Department’s Civil Division.