Cobb watchdog group calls for transparency, accountability and oversight of school board

A group of Cobb County parents formed a grassroots group during the pandemic to track how the school district spends money.

Chris O'Meara / AP

During the pandemic, a group of Cobb County parents became concerned about some of the school district’s COVID-19-related purchases. So, they formed a volunteer watchdog group called “Watching the Funds-Cobb” to track how the system spends money.

“It started with some of the purchases that were made using the COVID relief money that didn’t make sense to me,” says co-founder Stacy Efrat. She says the school board quickly approved spending $12 million in federal relief money on ultraviolet disinfecting lights and handwashing stations.

The decision caused tension among school board members, two of whom opposed the purchases. The school district defended the expense, saying it was one part of its COVID-19 response to make school buildings healthier.

WABE spoke with Efrat, fellow Watching the Funds-Cobb co-founder Heather Tolley Bauer and member Laura Judge about the group’s concentration on three areas: transparency, accountability and oversight.