In December of 2008, the State Department of Education was well aware that budget cuts would be affecting public schools across the state. Teachers and other district employees feared for their jobs, while bean counters worried that money might be too tight to even put fuel in school buses.
Even during this time of uncertainty and restricted funding, consultants were confident that fat government contracts would keep rolling in.
According to the State Comptroller General’s “Spending Transparency” site, the SC Department of Education paid out-
• $130,500 to Insite, LLC: a “highly accomplished woman-owned assessment company, providing test development, training, and data-collection services.”
• $211,850 to TAPFIN Process Solutions: “With a focus on human capital management, TAPFIN deploys successful solutions delivered with our commitment to people, process and technology.
• $17,732 to Educational Resources Group: “ERG is your best resource for consultants who provide professional development services to teachers, administrators, and classroom support personnel.”
• $37,200 to South Carolina Association of School Administrators: tax funded lobbyists
• $15,000 to Education Builders
• $14,695 to The Assignment Agency
• $11,755.52 to Malachied Inc.
Unfortunately, these hefty payments are by no means the only examples of non-essential spending. Numerous other “education services” groups are also bleeding the state’s coffers through frequent, yet somewhat less-noticeable, payments.
Here are just a few of the dozens of examples of payments to consultants and contractors from December of 2008-
PWS Educational Consulting- $9,906
CHN Education Services-$5,400
Alpha and Omega Education Services-$4,400
Bladon Education Services- $4,100
LC Stephens, Inc-$3,500
Mohr Educational Associates-$3,000
Zeke Stokes, LLC-$6,400
The Rackes Group, LLC- $4,500
Trina S Randle-$8,382
Francis R Sarratt-$5,250
Bernadette Davis and Associates-$6,500
Lean financial times should mean the trimming away of non-essential, non-classroom instruction costs. Clearly that has not been happening. Bus drivers and mechanics making low hourly wages have had their jobs threatened, but what about the hundreds of consultants that have been bellied up to the public education trough for years. Perhaps some of these payments represent investments in vital instructional areas, but who really knows? Short of a lengthy Freedom of Information Act investigation, this information is not readily available to taxpayers who are worried about teacher salaries and bus fuel.
Perhaps you know about one of these consultants, or another not listed here. Contact The Voice with any information you would like to share at news[at]scrgov[dot]org.