AETN allegedly misused more than $400,000 in grant money

CONWAY, Ark. (AP)   Arkansas’ public television network faces repaying more than $400,000 from a state grant that auditors say was misspent.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports the state Department of Education audit released Friday says the Arkansas Educational Television Network misused just more than $409,000 from a $2.8 million grant during fiscal year 2019.

The grant supported an AETN program that allows kindergarten-through-12th-grade teachers and administrators to receive professional development.

The audit says the misspent funds include more than $333,000 in salary and fringe benefits to employees not involved directly in the program and nearly $45,000 in expenses for other AETN programs and services.

AETN executive director Courtney Pledger said AETN believed it was using the funds properly and is open to “new and revised guidance.”

Investigators recommend AETN repay the funds or that next year’s grant be reduced.

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