Those Returned Education Grants

If you attended the Williamsburg debate on Tuesday or watched virtually, you heard me ask the incumbent to account for his reasoning in returning over a quarter of a million dollars in education and vocational grant funding to the Department of Education, which really totaled over half a million dollars because they were multi-year grants. His answer was carefully scripted and entirely inaccurate.

The DOE had been asking since December to discuss the grants in question (there were 4) and Mr. Cahillane refused to respond until June when he returned the money. The DOE would have been completely open to a reconfiguration or repurposing of these grants, as they did for other facilities—no other Sheriff in MA returned funding to the DOE. Two of these grants were for Foundational Manufacturing and CNC Operator training, skills needed in the Pioneer Valley, and of great interest to our people in custody. These totaled $120k and were valid for an additional 3 years. In the instance of the Adult Basic Education grant, the HSO returned over $100k because Mr. Cahillane refused to post and hire for the grant-funded teaching position and advising position. Instead, two people did the work of what used to be a department of 4 FT and 2 PT staff, for the better part of a year. When Mr. Cahillane says he did the “responsible thing” by returning the money to the DOE, that is entirely false: by hanging on to the money until the end of the fiscal year, he prevented any other program from applying for and using that money; that’s why the DOE had been asking since December, they wanted to repurpose the money if possible. This turn of events was so highly unusual that in June of 2021, the MA State Director of Adult Education, the Assistant State Director, and the Corrections Program Specialist met with Mr. Cahillane in a Zoom conference call to ask what happened because they had never had a program return so much money to them before and did not understand his refusal to meet to discuss alternatives. The DOE did not want the money back; they wanted the money used to provide academic and vocational education and training to the people in custody who need it.  #KnowYourSheriff  #TheRightWomanSheriff