DC Public Schools (DCPS)

DCPS to Pay on Missing Contract; Document Still Can't Be Found

Dozens of contracts worth $260 million never received D.C. Council approval

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On Tuesday, the D.C. Council is expected to approve a $1.3 million payment on a contract that was never approved and now can’t be found.

According to D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, the actual signed contract is missing.

Any D.C. contract worth more than $1 million must be approved by the D.C. Council. DCPS admitted earlier this month there are 36 contracts at the schools that were never approved. Despite that, millions were paid out on the deals since 2019. Altogether, D.C. Public Schools says the 36 contracts are worth $260 million.

As investigations into how this happened continue, companies still need to be paid for the work they did. The Council is taking the rare step of authorizing payment this week on three of them. Those contracts were never approved initially and are still not going to be approved, but the services were provided, and Mendelson says they are owed the money under D.C. law.

According to a memo Mendelson released, the contract with Milestone Therapeutic Services cannot be found.  Milestone provided special education services to DCPS.

Last week, the I-Team learned DCPS has already punished at least one staffer over the issue

Mendelson called the DCPS contracting issues “scandalous” and told reporters he does not believe DCPS Chancellor Lewis Ferebee intended to mislead the Council by not sending the contracts for approval, but added “that does not let him off the hook” as Ferebee remains in charge.

Later this month, the Council will host two hearings on the growing contract issues. Depending on how the Council acts on a bill Mendelson authored, DCPS could lose the right to issue its own contracts.

Investigations continue, Mendelson said Monday.

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