Ala. education official quits amid federal probe

Deann Stone (Courtesy: Ala. Dept. of Education)
Deann Stone (Courtesy: Ala. Dept. of Education)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The director of federal programs for Alabama's Department of Education has resigned amid an investigation into allegations that her husband's company profited from grant money she was in charge of distributing to school districts.

State schools Superintendent Joe Morton said Deann Stone resigned Oct. 5 as director of federal programs. The U.S. Department of Education's inspector general's office has been investigating the state's process for distributing federal School Improvement Grant money.

The Birmingham News reported in July that three of the four Alabama school systems that were awarded first-round federal money for chronically failing schools had said they intended to use Information Transport Solutions to guide their reforms. Stone's husband, Dave Stone, is vice president of the company.

Deann Stone has said she had nothing to do with selecting the systems that received grants. Her husband has said he works in a different division of ITS than the one working with school systems on grants.

Morton told the News in a story Wednesday that his office is also conducting an internal investigation.

He said the federal inspector general's office asked about the grants and the process by which they were awarded after the July report by the newspaper.

"We provided all of the information to them as requested," he said.

The News said 16 school systems in Alabama applied for the federal School Improvement Grant money, with four chosen. The three of those using ITS were Lowndes County, which got $14.6 million, Coosa County with $5.5 million in grant money and Marengo County with $4.1 million. The fourth, Montgomery County, got $11.1 million.

ITS stands to make $4.3 million, and possibly much more, by providing equipment and professional consulting services to the three counties, the News said.

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