San Ysidro School District still waiting on refund for $276,000 program that never happened
The San Ysidro school board is shown at an Oct. 11, 2018, meeting at Ocean View Hills School. (Megan Wood/inewsource)

San Ysidro School District still waiting on refund for $276,000 program that never happened

It’s been two months since inewsource reported that the San Ysidro School District was trying to recoup some or all of the $276,000 it paid for an after-school program that never happened, but so far it hasn’t received any reimbursement.

The San Ysidro School District, which serves some of the poorest students in San Diego County, has been dogged by controversy for years, often involving questions of financial mismanagement.

The Greater San Diego After-School All-Stars, a nonprofit run by Tyree Dillingham, was given a no-bid contract in 2016 to provide a yearlong sports and cheer program for more than 1,600 San Ysidro students. The district canceled the contract three months later when no program had started.

District officials first requested reimbursement from the company in 2016 under former Superintendent Julio Fonseca, and again this past October when inewsource began asking questions about the payment.

“The District’s legal counsel is still in the process of negotiating the details of the reimbursement with Ms. Dillingham and her attorney,” district spokesman Francisco Mata told inewsource in a statement Friday.

Mata did not answer questions about how much money the district has asked to be refunded or what has caused negotiations to last more than two months.

A spokesman for Dillingham told inewsource in October that she had twice tried to refund money to San Ysidro, but district officials could not confirm that and said their attorney was reaching out to her. The spokesman said Tuesday they would not comment during negotiations.

Dillingham became executive director of the Greater San Diego After-School All-Stars in 2010. The company began in 1995 as a chapter of a national after-school sports program founded by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Dillingham worked in Schwarzenegger’s San Diego office when he was governor from 2004 to 2009, according to her LinkedIn.

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Dillingham also has used her connection to billionaire philanthropist T. Denny Sanford to promote her programs online. A spokeswoman for Sanford has said he gave Dillingham $500,000 to help expand her after-school program.

Before Dillingham got her contract with the San Ysidro School District, she had made nearly $1.7 million providing programs at two other San Diego County school districts.

Dillingham’s After-School All-Stars is now called Inspirement Tribe. Public records show it lost its nonprofit status in 2017 and has been suspended by the state Franchise Tax Board. The state Attorney General’s Office has also declared the group delinquent for failing to file tax records and pay fees required of charities in California. That means the All-Stars can’t legally operate or solicit donations in the state.

Related:


After-school program that never happened cost San Ysidro School District $276,000
Tyree Dillingham promised that her Greater San Diego After-School All-Stars would provide a yearlong sports and cheer program for more than 1,600 of San Ysidro’s students.
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About Megan Wood:

Megan Wood
Megan Wood was a multimedia journalist for inewsource. To contact inewsource with questions, tips or corrections, email contact@inewsource.org.