Report: MNPS spent millions on areas that had nothing to do with pandemic, student performance

Posted at 4:36 AM, Aug 24, 2022

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A new report is shining light on how Tennessee school districts are using federal COVID dollars. It claims millions have been spent or budgeted on areas that had nothing to do with the pandemic or student performance.

In Davidson County, the report found that Metro Schools has only touched a small portion of available funds. Metro received more than $425 million in federal relief during the pandemic and data shows only 18% of that has been used.

The report from the Beacon Center questions how some of that money was spent like a quarter of a million dollars on private music and art classes and $100,000 on artists in partnerships.

Further investigation found the district paid almost $3 million for nearly 700 hours worked from apparently one employee for data integration, a rate of more than $4,200 per hour. The district further paid almost two million for equipment to monitor student temperatures, but never put it to use.

A breakdown from Metro's website claims money was also spent on nutrition, school nurses, graduation success coaches and more.

Authors of the report said the federal funds were aimed at helping with learning loss and mental health issues caused by the pandemic and that parents should be questioning the lack of money spent to get students back on track.

Metro Schools is looking for families to provide input as to where they think federal funding should go. You can find the survey here.