Fresno Unified School District used state money meant for low-income minority students to pay for police programs, bathroom renovations and other expenses not related to the students, the California Department of Education reported.
The Department of Education is demanding that the school district revise its spending plan and justify its use of extra funds that are distributed based on the number of students who are not fluent in English, are foster children, or are from low-income families.
The school district argued that 88 percent of its student body meets the state’s criteria for the funds, so it was proper for the money to be spent on broad concerns including school safety.
The American Civil Liberties Union has led the criticism of the district’s spending, arguing that the district misspent more than $36 million in special funds, including $5.6 million on bathroom renovations and additional janitors; $5.6 million for a middle school redesign; $3.8 million for school employees; and $440,000 to hire more school police officers and to expand the use of a bullet-tracking system. (Source: The Fresno Bee, May 9.)