Comments on Claim Against Mississippi for Disallowed Educational Grant Expenditures

Gao ID: B-198493 July 7, 1980

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Office of Education's claim against the State of Mississippi for the return of a portion of the funds granted to the state between July 1, 1969 and January 31, 1973 under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. GAO noted that: (1) the Office of Education through an audit review concluded that, in several instances, the plans of Mississippi's local agencies for construction and acquisition of heavy equipment had not met statutory requirements and the Office's implementing regulations, since they did not explain or justify how the construction and equipment related to the education of educationally deprived children; (2) having given the state ample opportunity to present its case, the Office of Education's final position was not arbitrary or capricious, and thus there was no basis to question its decision; (3) the authority to grant 75 percent of the claimed funds to the state was separate budget authority from that used for the original obligation and was only available under specific statutory authority; (4) reobligation of 75 percent of the claimed funds to Mississippi was conditional on the state's return of the funds; and (5) GAO had no authority to waive a claim of the United States in these circumstances.

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