Parents Worry Over School Stimulus Spending

San Diego city schools will receive millions of dollars in federal stimulus money, but some parents are concerned the money won't be spent correctly.

Walker Elementary School student Chloe Dern has a rare gene disorder that causes seizures, and that makes her father nervous all day when a nurse is not at the school.

"If Chloe was running a fever and no one caught the fact that Chloe was running a fever, her seizures could be a life-and-death situation," said Chloe's father, David Dern.

Right now, Walker Elementary can only afford their nurse, Sheri, for two days a week.

Stimulus money will now pay for the other three days, giving peace of mind to parents like Dern.

"It's a great relief," he said.

Extending nurse hours is just one of many services and programs for which federal money will pay.

Several Title 1 schools in San Diego County will receive $30 million in federal stimulus money. Title 1 schools have students who are economically disadvantaged.

Parents like David Page and Frank Engle are skeptical about how the school district will spend the money.

"I don't have any faith in those funds, that they will do the right thing with those funds," said Page.

Page and Engle said the San Diego Unified School District has had a bad track record for handling its money. A federal audit found the district misspent more then $3 million in funding earmarked for child nutrition and low-income students. That money was spent for employee bonuses, and after a legal battle they had to pay some of it back.

"I don't have the confidence that some of the other funds that we're getting won't not be applied to something else," said Engle.

10News asked Walker Elementary School Principal Rochelle Dawes how they can reassure parents.

"The budget is transparent to everyone; parents, community, all teachers involved. It's public knowledge, and so they have a say-so in every aspect of the funding," said Dawes.

It's not a good enough answer for Engle, who said the problem is much deeper.

"There is so many different accounts. There's renaming of accounts and that type of thing, and so when the money comes in it's almost a full-time job to track where all the money is going," said Engle.

The school district said the spending requirements were unclear at the time of the audit.

A spokeswoman said all problems from the audit findings have been resolved.