CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Some scathing findings are in from state auditors outlining how pandemic money was misspent by the West Virginia Department of Education.

At a hearing in Wheeling Monday, auditors with the Performance Evaluation and Research Division revealed how $1.2 billion dollars of COVID-related money was spent for elementary and secondary schools. The audit found that 37 counties in the Mountain State did not comply with procedures or spent money improperly.

The findings indicated that the way money was spent and monitored was at an increased risk of fraud, waste and abuse of the funds.

A spokesperson for State Superintendent of Schools Michelle Blatt responded to the findings saying in part, “The State has increased communication with Counties, will propose policy changes to strengthen processes and will work with the State Auditor’s Office to communicate the need to strengthen auditing processes.