• Springfield Republican: Auditor Suzanne Bump finds nearly $2 million in fraudulently obtained state benefits

    June 12, 2012 - The following content was originally published by the Springfield Republican

    The state auditor's office found evidence of $1.8 million in fraudulently obtained public assistance and benefits services during the first three months of this year, including a man who used two identities to cheat welfare.

    Auditor Suzanne M. Bump of Great Barrington said examiners in her Bureau of Special Investigations completed 963 investigations, identifying 401 people defrauding the state out of welfare, food stamps, childcare services, health care benefits, public housing or cash assistance.

    “In today’s economic climate, with so many struggling to get by, it is more important than ever to make sure every dollar given in benefits goes to those who are actually in need,” Bump said in a statement.

    Read more from the Springfield Republican.

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  • Lowell Sun: Plan gives state control of costly program for busing of homeless students

    June 11, 2012 - The following content was originally published by the Lowell Sun

    Massachusetts school districts may soon be spared the expense of busing thousands of homeless students to class. But a plan for the state to take over the $11.3 million bill means state taxpayers -- rather than individual communities -- would pay the rising costs of the federally mandated program.

    "To make the program work, the state must step in," said state Rep. Tom Sannicandro, D-Ashland, co-chairman of the Joint Committee on Higher Education, whose school district saw costs for the busing program rise 30 percent from fiscal 2011 to 2012.

    The federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act requires communities to enroll homeless students from preschool to grade 12 and provide the transportation necessary to get them to school.

    Students have the option of attending a school close to their new location or remain in their last school.

    According to J.C. Considine, spokesperson for the Department of Elementary and Secondary School Education, there were 14,247 homeless students enrolled in 278 school districts across the state during the 2010-2011 school year.

    A study conducted by the state auditor's office found the majority of homeless school-aged children live in Waltham, Danvers, Holyoke, Chicopee, Brighton and Brockton.

    Read more from the Lowell Sun