Dem sponsored, GOP defeated GEAR UP bill key to reform

Immediate Release: Wednesday, April 20, 2016

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Dem sponsored, GOP defeated GEAR UP bill key to reform says independent expert

Sioux Falls, SD (April 20, 2016)-

A recent interview conducted by KELO TV confirmed what Democrats argued this past legislative session—the waiver that allowed all GEAR UP funds to be diverted into programing instead of being used to fund student scholarships directly as the federal program intended, should be rescinded.

Democrats attempted to repeal the waiver this session through HB 1220 sponsored by Rep. Julie Bartling which would redirect GEAR UP funds to student scholarships. Other states like Iowa use GEAR UP funds for scholarships.

“But Iowa puts half of the federal GEAR UP dollars it receives in a scholarship trust for participants. “We decided in Iowa that the scholarship component was really a huge carrot in getting people to participate and we really saw it as a huge advantage that GEAR UP is associated with the scholarship,” Project Director for GEAR UP Iowa, Christina Sibouih said.”

Suzanne Jones Pranger Executive Director the South Dakota Democratic Party said, “Republicans appointing Republicans to monitor Republicans isn’t going to lead to good government. That’s why Democrats tried to put GEAR UP money directly into the hands of the people it was intended to assist—Native American college students. Republicans blocked even this simple effort at eliminating a proven avenue for corruption.”

Unlike South Dakota, Iowa tracks and shares data to monitor the effectiveness of programs administered with GEAR UP money. ““If you keep a focus on the students and don’t get too lost in the moving parts of that puzzle, that’s where you can be sure those funds are being used correctly,” Sibouih said.”

“Republican rejection of eliminating the GEAR UP waiver highlights the misconception that Republicans are the party of small government. Democrats have been offering good government solutions for years, and the Republicans have rejected these solutions because of politics. It’s not any one particular ideology that causes government fraud and abuse—rather, one side’s concentrated power that causes it.” Jones Pranger said.


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