The Project for 21st Century Federalism is the Badger Institute's multi-year investigation of the growth in federal grants and their effect on state and local governance. The project was launched in September 2016.
It would seem a simple question to ask of any public agency: How much money do you spend and on what? But when the Badger Institute wanted to know about federal funding of school districts around the state, getting answers was more difficult than we imagined.
Special needs students are left behind because of inequitable allocation of federal resources, administrators say in Badger Institute survey.
Federal requirements in special education are especially burdensome, educators tell the Badger Institute in a survey. “I love my job working with special education students,” one teacher writes in the survey. “But there is so much paperwork."
"I have to do a lot of paperwork and spend time testing my kids instead of teaching my kids."
Results of Badger Institute survey in November-December 2017 of Wisconsin public school teachers who work under federally funded programs.
Funding regulations hamper districts and don’t improve education, local officials say in survey.
Results of Badger Institute survey in July-August 2017 of Wisconsin school superintendents, school board members and business managers on federal funding.
Hordes of Wisconsin government workers are employed to "check boxes" for the feds. Fully 71 percent of the 1,632 workers at the Department of Workforce Development are paid with federal funds, part of a slow takeover of that state government agency. The story is the same at other major Wisconsin agencies.
Paperwork takes staff away from daily responsibilities and educating kids, officials say.
Effort to scrap popular Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is a case study in how difficult it is to reduce spending.
Federal regulations force school districts to spend those savings in another way or else face funding cuts. “Rules get in the way of innovation and progress. Rules around maintenance of effort hurt education. Paperwork gets in the way of spending time on students,” writes one superintendent responding to a Badger Institute survey.
Private contractors help states grab more U.S. dollars at the expense of serving children and the poor. In too many cases, federal auditors are finding, the services are little more than a computer-driven, high-tech flimflam that ends with states being forced to pay back millions and the needy lost in the shuffle.
U.S. education secretary Betsy DeVos also plans to give them more say over federal school dollars.
Following publication of Badger Institute story, Gov. Scott Walker asks the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction to resubmit the state's federal education funding plan.
School officials make decisions they wouldn’t make otherwise to comply with funding requirements.
The vast majority of local school officials in Wisconsin say they could better serve their students if they had more control over how federal dollars are spent, according to a Badger Institute survey.
Federal grants usually drive up state and local spending; all that counting, check-writing and auditing costs money.
“Federal agencies have over time adopted a culture of contempt for the public’s right to know,” says Bill Lueders of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council. It’s especially difficult for the public, journalists and even politicians to track the hundreds of billions of dollars in federal grants distributed to states, local governments and private entities.
The St. Croix Chippewa tribe is making changes in how it manages federal housing funds in response to a 2015 audit critical of the tribe’s use of $2.3 million in federal housing grants.
Managing federal education dollars is costing Wisconsin taxpayers millions and benefiting children hardly at all.
Nearly half of Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction employees owe their livelihood to the federal government as they execute some 59 federal education-related programs.
Mike Nichols and Dan Benson of the Badger Institute make a presentation on Jan. 24, 2017, to the Assembly Committee on Federalism and Interstate Relations. Wisconsin alone now receives nearly one-third of all state budget revenues from Washington, D.C. — and, as a result, has forfeited control over vast areas of policy and spending.
New regulation for adding diversity to suburbs and towns is social engineering, critics say.
The questions we should be asking, however, are: Why aren’t our problems getting better? What value does the Washington bureaucracy add?
U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy is seeking a forensic audit of all federal monies awarded to the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa after 113 tribal members sent him a petition alleging mismanagement of federal grants.
Thousands of hours of staff time and millions of tax dollars statewide will be spent by school districts to prepare the so-called annual Single Audit of federal funds that flow to local school districts.
After years of chasing federal grant money, district officials are determined to no longer allow the lure of federal grants to steer spending decisions.
U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) is asking federal housing officials to explain why grants meant to help needy members of the St. Croix Chippewa tribe may not be getting to those most needing that assistance.
Over the years, dozens of families have at times languished on waiting lists for housing assistance and in 2014 and 2015 federal audits show tribal housing officials loaned themselves housing money without proper oversight.
In recent years, more than a dozen Indian tribes from North Carolina to Wisconsin to California have come under fire for misusing federal housing funds.
The way the St. Croix Chippewa Tribal Council operates in secrecy has gone largely unnoticed by federal watchdogs, but not by tribal members who have complained loudly about the practice for decades.
In September 2016, the Badger Institute launched its “Federal Grant$tanding” project, a multi-year investigation of the growth in federal grants used by D.C. politicians to curry favor with voters.