The Channel 3 Eyewitness News I-Team is in its 10th year uncovering government waste, and Chief Investigative Reporter Eric Parker looked at thousands that went missing from Connecticut's technical high schools.
The state's technical high school system serves some 11,000 students in 16 schools, but the I-Team has found that some of those schools may be squandering equipment purchased with your taxpayer dollars.
The I-Team poured though hundreds of state records related to missing items, and three state technical schools jumped right off the page.
At Vinal Tech in Middletown, they admit to losing inventory worth nearly $50,000. It was almost $46,000 that turned up missing at Platt Tech in Milford.
It was a little better at Emmett O'Brien Tech in Ansonia, but they still lost items worth more than $36,000.
That's three schools with losses topping $132,000.
You bought it, and they lost it.
The list of what's missing is definitely varied. At Vinal Tech, they can't find 61 items. At that one school there's a grinder tool worth more than $2,100, a gas analyzer worth more than $5,000 and five-quart mixer you bought for more than $1,000 that they lost.
From computers to scanners to printers, technology losses at that school account for $29,614 that you bought and they lost.
They even reported two cars missing.
The records list a $500 car and a $700 car. They don't seem to even know the make or model, but they do know that you bought those two cars, and they lost them.
The losses at the other technical high schools are similar - equipment, technology and tools are all items you bought and they lost.
And that's not all.
Less than a year before these reports were submitted to the state, these very same schools went to the State Bond Commission requesting $3.5 million to buy new academic and trade equipment.
It was approved.
Millions more were sent to buy equipment even as tens of thousands were being lost at the very same locations where that money would be spent.
So what do the schools have to say?
The I-Team contacted the spokeswoman for the state Department of Education to request an interview.
But rather than answer the I-Team's questions on camera, she sent a statement saying they've recently switched to an electronic inventory system using bar codes to identify items but that "recent audits have indicated that there have been losses in equipment and security must be improved. Asset management controls at each school and in each school program will be reviewed regularly and corrective action will be implemented where necessary."
The statement goes on to say that the new system should improve accuracy.
The I-Team will follow up to see if there's improvement as promised.
Want to check out the reports for yourself? Click here.
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