Denver Public Schools, the state’s largest school district, paid the federal government more than $2.1 million to settle allegations it misused AmeriCorps funds by recruiting employees to serve as volunteers and falsely claiming participants qualified for tuition reimbursements.
The settlement with the Department of Justice, announced Tuesday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado, resolves a civil investigation under the False Claims Act and includes the stipulation that DPS does not admit any liability.
“Denver Public Schools used millions of federal dollars from AmeriCorps in ways that violated the basic rules of the AmeriCorps program,” U.S. Attorney Matthew Kirsch said in a statement. “Its misuse of those funds interfered with AmeriCorps’ core mission — to give students more educational resources.”
AmeriCorps is a federal service program that offers incentives, such as living allowances, education awards and other benefits, to people to volunteer with organizations. (The agency calls these volunteers “members.”)
For example, AmeriCorps members were recruited to help public health agencies in Colorado conduct contact tracing during the pandemic.