Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Bill seeks tighter rules for Mass. collaboratives

BOSTON — Allegations that millions in taxpayers money was misspent by an education collaborative has led to the filing of a bill aimed at tightening oversight and financial management of the organizations in Massachusetts.

State Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, a Boston Democrat, said the bill she filed on Monday would address some of the alleged abuses uncovered during investigations of the Merrimack Special Educational Collaborative.

A state audit identified more than $37 million in questionable or undocumented expenses, including lavish spending on golf outings and other entertainment, unjustified salary expenses and improper charges made to the collaborative by a related nonprofit group.

Chang-Diaz says her legislation would prohibit employees or board members of a collaborative from serving in similar capacities at a related nonprofit.

It would also set up new, stricter financial reporting requirements for the collaboratives.