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CA auditor: Spending of COVID-19 relief money not properly tracked in schools

KCRA Sacramento logo KCRA Sacramento 10/20/2021

The California Department of Education needs to do a better job of monitoring how its $24-billion in federal COVID-19 relief money is being spent in schools, according to a new audit released Tuesday.

If the problem isn't fixed, hundreds of millions of dollars may revert to the federal government.

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Highlights from the audit:

  • Because local educational agencies (LEAs) are not consistently reporting spending data, Education does not have the information necessary to oversee LEAs' use of funds to meet the educational and safety needs of their students.
  • Education has not taken a strong leadership role in ensuring that LEAs are effectively and promptly using the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) and Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER) funds.
  • As of June 30, 2021, nearly 90 LEAs had spent less than 20% of their initial ESSER allocations and more than 140 had spent less than 20% of their initial GEER allocations.
  • The audit projects that these LEAs will collectively have nearly $160 million in unspent initial ESSER and GEER allocations, which would then revert to the federal government after the spending deadlines.
  • Education monitored less than 1% of the LEAs that received these additional funds during the fiscal year 2020–21.
  • Education has not used LEA spending data to help inform its selection of LEAs to monitor.

To read the audit in its entirety, click here.


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