Mid-Central

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A South Dakota lawmaker wants to make audits from organizations and businesses that receive state or federal grant money public.

That would include contractors like Mid-Central Education Cooperative, which played a role in the GEAR UP scandal in 2015.

State Senator Deb Peters says by making audits of private entities that receive public money public, the quicker something like a GEAR UP-type scandal can be caught in the future.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Three people connected to the GEAR UP program and Mid-Central Education Cooperative have been arraigned on accusations of fraud and financial crimes. Stacy Phelps, Dan Guericke, and Stephanie Hubers each pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Lake Andes.

Marty Jackley is South Dakota’s Attorney General.

Investigators say they believe Scott  Westerhuis a Platt resident and Administrator for the Mid-Central Education Cooperative, committed suicide in mid-September after he shot and killed his family and set his home on fire.  
 
The incident followed the termination of a $4-million dollar state contract with the Mid-Central Education Cooperative that oversaw the GEAR UP program.    
 
Those who formerly worked with GEAR UP now question what will happen to the six-thousand Native American students served.