The Fresno and Visalia school districts are spending $10 million each on new schools. San Jose Unified put about $12 million toward staff bonuses, while Santa Ana Unified spent $9 million on retiree benefits.

The money is coming from about $3.6 billion in tax revenues California’s about 1,000 school districts received over the past two years. The Legislature specified that it “intended” for districts to “prioritize” spending of the one-time funds on implementing academic standards, including Common Core standards in math and English.

But lawmakers also told districts that they first had to use the funds as reimbursement for outstanding claims for programs and services mandated by the state. Because districts had already covered the past mandated expenses, they were free to use the one-time reimbursements “for any purpose.”

That multipronged and even confusing message has prompted several advocates, along with a key legislator on education matters, to argue that the funds should have been targeted for more specific purposes – and that districts should be required to report more precisely how they spent the funds.

“It’s shocking to me that districts would not put this money directly into the classroom, because we’re trying to do something in education that does take extra resources,” said Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, who is a former teacher.

Read the full article on the tracking of Common Core spending by Theresa Harrington at EdSource