Company says state canceling literacy program contract is ‘not fair’

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Kansas Reading Roadmap, a literacy program designed to improve young students’ reading abilities, is fighting back after the Kansas government ended a contract with them.

The Department of Children and Families accused the company of the program, Hysell & Wagner, LLC, of spending their grant money questionably.

“The level of administrative costs associated with those and whether or not those were really the best ways to spend TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) dollars, that are really supposed to be targeted around vulnerable children and families,” said DCF Secretary Laura Howard. “In this particular circumstance, little accountability in the contract ignored an administrative cost.”

DCF says that $2.3 million was mismanaged by the Kansas Reading Roadmap operators, Andrew Hysell, and Carol Hazen, between 2014 and 2015.

“I was surprised about everything they mentioned,” said Hysell. “This program is an amazing program.”

The money was spent on traveling to Kansas to visit schools regarding the program, according to Hysell.

DCF is now canceling the contract that was signed with the company in June. Now the money originally from the grant will instead go straight to school.

“They’re concerned this is wasting money, going through the Reading Roadmap, when they pump it directly to schools, the education value will be severely compromised,” Hysell said.

Previous audits of the program had no findings of improper payments and that the money spent on traveling was allowed in the contract, according to Hysell.

“DCF doesn’t even know where some of their foster children are, how are they going to run this program?” Hysell said.

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