Federal officials slam Stitt management of federal education COVID-19 relief grants – KOSU

by | Jul 20, 2022 | Education

Federal auditors have recommended clawing back hundreds of thousands of dollars disbursed by Gov. Kevin Stitt as part of federally funded coronavirus relief money grants.The auditors published a 69-page report Tuesday that lays out a number of failures by Oklahoma in distributing a nearly $40 million coronavirus-relief package by the Stitt administration.The review by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General found $650,000 in purchases auditors say were misspent and included items like Christmas trees, smart watches and hundreds of televisions.The OIG investigators wrote they are further reviewing $5.5 million in purchases.The auditors found the company that helped distribute that money – ClassWallet – also offered to put in safeguards to ensure the funds were properly spent. But auditors wrote Oklahoma didn’t use them. The state’s work with ClassWallet was overseen by Secretary of Education Ryan Walters, currently a Republican candidate for State Superintendent of Public Instruction.Stitt’s spokeswoman Kate Vespar said in a statement that his administration was reviewing the report and will collaborate with federal investigators moving forward.“The governor is committed to transparency and accountability in state government and has called for more audits than any other governor in our state’s history,” she said in a statement. “The state has been proactive in monitoring and ensuring appropriate use of Oklahoma taxpay …

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