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Mesa Public Schools Ignored Request for Data on $32.3 Million ‘COVID’ Expenditures

May 11, 2022

By Corinne Murdock |

Mesa Public Schools (MPS) ignored additional requests from our reporters to obtain data on how $32.3 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds were spent. In March, MPS told AZ Free News that no records existed detailing how exactly those funds were spent. 

Over a month ago, AZ Free News inquired about records for the chart of accounts related to Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding. There were three separate COVID-19 federal relief grants administered: ESSER I, coded under 326; ESSER II, coded under 336; and ESSER III, coded under 346.

We requested those records because the public ESSER report given by MPS in December didn’t offer an in-depth explanation. MPS attributed those tens of millions spent to a variety of ambiguous explanations: “other,” “etc,” “indirect costs,” and “COVID relief positions.”

When we asked for further information about the $32.3 million, MPS told us they couldn’t offer further explanation of those expenditures because they weren’t required by law to create records. 

Of the over $4 billion Arizona received in ESSER funding, MPS received the second-largest allotment: around $229.2 million. Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) received the most in the state. 

Last October, MPS reported that they had nearly $40 million remaining in their maintenance and operation funds. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

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