March 5, 2024

State, federal officials investigating CCSD over misuse of COVID relief funds tied to recruitment trips

Joshua Peguero and Greg Haas

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Recruitment trips that CCSD staffers took last year to places like Miami and Hawaii are under investigation.

According to an email from the Nevada Department of Education, the agency is “currently working with the United States Department of Education to evaluate the use of these funds.”

8 News Now last year did a two-part investigation into trips CCSD employees took around the country.

Records showed CCSD spent nearly $29,000 of COVID-19 relief funds to send 17 teacher recruiters and principals to Miami over the Fourth of July weekend.

The district confirmed that the Miami trip didn’t result in any new hires.

A spokesperson for the Nevada Department of Education (NDE) told 8 News Now on Friday the agency “provided documentation about the program approval process to the [U.S. Department of Education].”

The state’s education department also did its own research and submitted its findings on Tuesday to the federal government.

According to receipts obtained through an open records request, two CCSD recruiters were in Hawaii Feb. 7-10 in 2023 and stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott on Waikiki Beach. The cost to taxpayers was $1,550. Add in the food, flight, car rental, and baggage the overall cost of the trip was nearly $5,000.

8 News Now added up all CCSD recruiting trips from August of 2022 to July of 2023 and it totaled around $160,000. Staffers took trips to Los Angeles and to Corpus Christi, Texas where two recruiters stayed at a hotel near the beach, according to records.

Multiple attempts 8 News Now made to CCSD for comment on the trips to Hawaii were unmet.

Below is the full statement NDE sent 8 News Now:

The Nevada Department of Education’s Supporting Students Resource Guide currently outlines that ESSER funds may be used for “conducting other activities necessary to maintain the operation of services, employ existing staff, increase instructional hours that were reduced due to COVID-19, and coordinate activities.”
In an effort to refine and improve the ESSER allocation process, the Nevada Department of Education is currently evaluating the criteria and allowability requirements for ESSER funding requests of this nature.
The Nevada Department of Education (NDE) is currently working with the United States Department of Education (USED) to evaluate the use of these funds. The NDE provided documentation about the program approval process to the USED. Additionally, the NDE conducted its own research into the use of these funds and provided the findings to USED on January 30.
While the use of federal funding is an allowable expense for teacher recruitment and retention, each Local Educational Agency (LEA) is responsible for following their own policies and procedures regarding recruitment and retention.

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