WUOMFM

Audit: State-run military academy in Battle Creek failed to account for more than $80,000

May 15, 2015

Michigan Youth Challenge Academy cadets. A new report says the military-based program for troubled teens failed to account for thousands of dollars.
Credit Michigan National Guard / Creative Commons http://tinyurl.com/k8j8sr4

A new report released this week says the state-run Michigan Youth Challenge Academy failed to account for thousands for dollars between 2012 and 2014.

The report from the Michigan Auditor General says the military-based program in Battle Creek also failed to keep track of its own performance, and didn't feed cadets enough calories.

The MYCA says it's already taken steps to fix the problems, including a new financial management plan, and ways to measure program effectiveness.

The program also replaced its former director with Jeff Connell.

“I accepted leadership of the academy at a difficult time," Connell said. "In my opinion, it’s the challenging times that make an organization stronger.”

Connell said despite shortcomings detailed in the audit, he thinks the program is healthy.

"Talk to parents [with children] currently involved with this program, and they will echo that response," he said.

The MYCA's 17-month program gives 16-18 year-old high school dropouts military-based education and training.

Cadets can earn high school and college credit.