California DA Opens Investigation Into School District’s Use Of COVID-19 Relief Funds

[YouTube/Screenshot/Public — User: Stockton Unified]

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Reagan Reese Contributor
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A California district attorney launched an investigation on Monday into a school district’s alleged fraudulent use of pandemic stimulus funds, according to a press release.

San Joaquin County District Attorney Ron Freitas is investigating Stockton Unified School District for “any and all wrongdoing” following a report by state auditors that showed the school board had mishandled millions of federal pandemic relief funds, according to a press release. The February report found that school board members ignored its own policies and committed “fraud” when purchasing COVID-19 sanitation equipment for the district. (RELATED: DC Schools Are Still Enforcing COVID Protocols, Keeping Kids Out Of Class As Grades Plummet)

“Our children are our most important resource,” Freitas said in a press release. “Their education and the environment in which they learn is one of my most pressing priorities. Make no mistake, any attempt to commit fraud on the backs of our children will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

The report showed that the school district spent $7.3 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds, meant to address the impacts of the pandemic, on air filter disinfectant technology. Of the 2,000 filters ordered, 1,400 had been delivered but just 802 had been installed, leaving the rest in storage.

The investigation could result in the school district paying back the federal government $7 million, according to the 74 million, an education outlet. In addition to Freitas’, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office will be investigating the entire school district.

[YouTube/Screenshot/Public — User: Stockton Unified]

[YouTube/Screenshot/Public — User: Stockton Unified]

In 202o during the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress gave $5.5 billion in aid to nonpublic schools with low-income students through its Emergency Assistance to Nonpublic Schools (EANS) program. Of those federal funds, more than $736 million did not reach the K-12 schools and students it was meant for, with some states putting the money towards “slush funds” and “pet projects.”

“If the [district attorney] feels that he needs to do an investigation, I think that’s great,” John Ramirez, former superintendent of Stockton Unified School District, told the 74 Million.

Stockton Unified School District did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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