ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – State education officials are expanding the oversight of Albuquerque Public Schools after the alleged theft of more than a million dollars. Sheryl Williams Stapleton is accused of swindling the money while she was its director of Career and Technical Education at APS.
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Investigators believe she routed that money through a company called Robotics that promised to create educational software for the district. The New Mexico Public Education Department says APS broke several rules when it awarded Robotics a no-bid contract. APS must now update its procurement procedures and strengthen control to prevent fraud and waste as well as hire an independent monitor to over the changes.
According to a news released from NMPED, in a letter sent Tuesday to APS Superintendent Scott Elder, Public Education Secretary Designate Kurt Steinhaus listed the following four conditions the district must meet before receiving federal CTE funds for the 2021-2022 year:
- APS must review and update its federal procurement procedures and strengthen controls to ensure better segregation of duties against fraud, waste and abuse.
- Upon approval by the Public Education Department, APS must implement the revised policies and procedures and train staff to follow them.
- APS must engage an independent auditor, approved by the Public Education Department, to monitor the implementation of its conflict-of-interest policy and federal procurement procedures in the CTE program.
- APS has until Oct. 1 to designate a point person to regularly communicate with the Public Education Department until such time as the conditions are removed.
The news release states that along with the four conditions, Steinhaus gave the district until Oct. 15 to submit an accounting by funding source of all payments made to Robotics from the fiscal year 2016 through FY 2021.