OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The State of Oklahoma is coming under fire after a federal audit criticized the way the Stitt Administration spent pandemic relief funds.
The federal audit into Oklahoma’s use of COVID funds for education determined that it didn’t follow proper guidelines and conditions.
The report focused on the first of two GEER grant funds. The funds were spent between March 2020 and August of 2021.
Auditors took a close look at $31 million of the $40 million the state received.
The audit found that “Oklahoma did not award all of its GEER grant funds in accordance with the CARES Act, Federal regulations, Department guidance, and GEER grant conditions as discussed in the findings below and the specific sections in this report.“
The audit also criticized Oklahoma Secretary of Education Ryan Walters for allowing the money to go to families who spent the funds on things like televisions, power washers, and air conditioners.
Now, federal auditors are asking the state to pay back some of that money.
Officials say the state should return $652,720 in questionable Bridge the Gap expenditures.
The report also calls for corrective actions that will force the state to look into what went wrong.
“Oklahoma did not state whether it agreed or disagreed with the findings and recommendations in the draft report. However, Oklahoma identified corrective actions that it has taken or plans to take,” the report states.
KFOR reached out to Gov. Stitt’s office and Secretary Ryan Walters, but have not heard back.