The Oakland Unified School District failed to follow federal regulations in doling out taxpayer money to benefit local private schools and must pay some of it back, a state review has found.
The state Department of Education cited Oakland Unified for not meeting federal requirements in its distribution of federal Title I and Title II money to provide teacher training and tutoring for struggling students at private schools. Private schools are entitled to a share of federal money, but public school districts are responsible for maintaining control of the funds.
The state found that Oakland Unified paid instructors who were not independent of their private schools, shipped materials directly to the private schools without taking an inventory and let private schools design their own taxpayer-funded programs.
State officials expedited the review, originally planned for January, after California Watch reported that the district had paid officials at St. Andrew Missionary Baptist Church’s private school based on padded enrollment numbers. The West Oakland K-12 school also has come under fire for making its students solicit money at BART stations and for the alleged physical abuse of students, which the school has denied.
Oakland Unified is asking for more time to resolve the state's findings of noncompliance, said spokesman Troy Flint.