While many school superintendents are in Myrtle Beach mingling and relaxing on the taxpayer dime, some officials are choosing not to indulge.
For years now, attendees at the annual South Carolina Association of School Administrators (SCASA) “Leadership Conference” have been returning to their districts with large bills that the taxpayers’ are expected to pay. Now, watchdog groups are decrying these taxpayer-subsidized amenities as “wasteful” in light of the financial struggles many school districts are facing.
Teachers have lost their jobs because of money shortages, but some administrators manage to find enough to pay for their beachfront vacations.
Mike Lucas, Superintendent of Oconee County School District, has chosen not to attend the Myrtle Beach function. In The Daily Journal, Superintendent Lucas stated-
“No local administrators are participating at district expense at the conference. Anyone from the school district at the conference had to cover their own costs because of state funding cuts.”
Posted in SCHOOL WATCH
Tagged Budget Cuts, conference spending, Frank Morgan, Kingston Plantation, Leadership Conference, Myrtle Beach, Oconee County School District, SCASA, South Carolina Association of School Administrators, South Carolina public schools, Superintendent Mike Lucas, travel costs
“Of course everyone gets a fair deal!”
The month of May came, went, and left behind a $333,791.00 tab in consultant and contractor fees for the taxpayers of South Carolina, courtesy of the Department of Education.
Thankfully this is a decrease from April, when Rex’s department spent almost $400, ooo on non-state employee “education and training services.”
Despite a steady stream of complaints from administrators about how budget cuts are forcing the Department of Education to do its work on a “bare bones” budget, the bureaucracy has managed to find enough money to continue paying out political consultants and contractors. Teachers have been cut, but spending has been maintained for former employees of political campaigns.
- YEAR-TO-DATE: $1.7 million to consultants and contractors
Posted in POLICY
Tagged 21ST CENTURY GRANTS, ALPHA & OMEGA EDUC SVC LLC, ANNETTE SAUSSER, BARBARA WESTON, BENNIE M BROWN JR, BERNARD TED ASCHENBRAND, BEYONKA WIDER, BLADON EDUCATION SERVICES, BPM CONSULTING, BROOKS GROUP, Budget Cuts, CASENEX, CASEY ELLISOR, CHARLES DEAN CRABTREE, CHRISTINE B SANDERS, CINDY LUE MARTIN, CLARKSON PROFESSIONAL, COASTAL VIDEO AND SOUND, COMMAND SPANISH INC, CONNIE M LONG, consultants, contractors, DEBORAH AMMERMAN, DEBORAH L GOOCH, DEBORAH MILLER, DENNIS THOMPSON JR, DIANE COKER, ELIZABETH G MCKINNEY, EVELYN S SMITH, EVERETT WAYNE CHAPMAN, FLORENCE KNIGHT, FRANCES ANNE J MACE, FRANCES B BRADBURN, FRANCIS R SARRATT, FRENCHRIST JACKSON, GARCIA S BYRD, GINA OLIVERIO, GRACE H SALTERS, JAMES E WRIGHT, JAMES G BOARDMAN, JAMES I MELVIN, JANE A EMBLER, JANE W FARRELL, JEFFREY TODD BOOZER, JERRY R KIRKLEY, Jim Rex, JOYCE F HINKSON, JUDITH L CANOVA-CHEATWOOD, JUDY POOLE ORMAN, JULIE VON FRANK, KATHY J KENT, KAY H GOSSETT, KCW CONSULTING LLC, KIMBERLY JORDAN, KIMBERLY R CARMICHAEL, LEE DANNY SHAW, LEE SANDERS HARMON, LIBBY M VAIL-MAYNARD, LINDA ARNAE RANDOLPH, LINDA ELIZABETH HAINS, LINDA FRAZIER, LINDSAY CONSULTING LLC, LISA CARRIGAN, LOVA JEAN BULLMAN, MAE NOTOMA, MARGARET B WALDEN, MARTHA B WILLIAMS, MARTHA CLYATT MESSICK, MARTHA DAVIS, MARTHA WATSON, MAX T JAMISON, MAXINE R SUMPTER, MELANIE MCMILLAN, MEZETTA L HUGGINS, MLS CONSULTING LLC, MOHR EDUCATIONAL ASSOCIATE, NANCY E BURCHINS, NANCY J SULLIVAN, NANCY WILSON, NEWTON JAMES & ASSOC LLC, NINA FEEMSTER, ODELL STUCKEY, ORA LEE WILSON, PACKETT COMMUNICATIONS CRP, PAMELA KAY BEGGS, PATRICIA HOLIDAY, PILANT AND ASSOCIATES, PROJECT MGMT GROUP INC, public education, PWS EDUCATIONAL CONSULTING, R WOLFE & ASSOCIATES, RANDY CHRISTMAS, RHONDA CORLEY, RHONDA GARRETT, RICHARD S THOMPSON, ROBERT KIRTON, ROBIN RICHARDSON, RONALD D MILES, ROSANNE D MONTJOY, ROY H FORBES, SANDIE J ELLIS, SARAH J WILSON, SC COMMUNITY ENTERPRISE, SHELLEY HAMILL, SHERRILL HALL JACO, SONJIA HAMPTON, SONYA BALL, South Carolina public schools, Spending, STRATEGIC INNOVATIONS, SUE J HINES, Superintendent Jim Rex, SUSAN E LONGSHORE, SWANSON EDITORIAL INC, SYSTEM WIDE SOLUTIONS INC, THOMAS B WARREN, TITUS DUREN LLC, TRINA STRICKLAND RANDLE, VIRGINIA P CAPPS, VT ENTERPRISES LLC, WANDA J ROBINSON, WENDY RENEE AUTHER, WYNN MARTIN SMITH, YVONNE JONES, Zeke Stokes
Bureaucrats bask in media attention
No one wants hard working South Carolina teachers to lose their jobs. Maintaining an adequate number of effective teachers should be priority for school districts during a time of financial uncertainty.
While many administrators and bureaucrats pay constant lip service to this principle, actions on the part of some public school districts show a readiness to put teachers on the chopping block to gain ground in wringing more money out of drained state coffers.
Unfortunately, Midlands’ parents eager to look into the reality of school funding will be disappointed again by The State, whose reporting is transparently unwilling to dig deeper than the deceptive sound bytes of district spokespeople.
Lexington/ Richland 5:
Lex/Rich 5 has blazed new trails in exploiting financial turmoil to its own advantage. Even after a seemingly unending string of administrative scandals and misrepresentations, the district was somehow able to push through a bond referendum to finance the construction of new schools to accommodate a “growing” student population. In recent weeks, the district has announced the firing of 70 teachers as a result of not receiving federal stimulus funds, and hinted that these might not be the last.
How Lex/Rich 5 is pulling a fast one:
As The Voice previously reported, Lex/Rich 5’s own year-end report points to current cuts in staff being the result of a ten year hiring binge, not because of budget cuts and the lack of stimulus money. From 1999 to 2008, the number of teaching staff increased by 57%, while the student population increased by only 16%! After a district bond referendum was foisted off on trusting taxpayers, demographic information was released stating that school populations in the district were not expected to increase in the next few years. So much for desperately needed new schools. Teachers and taxpayers are getting short changed so bureaucrats can play at being victims. Lex/Rich 5 has jumped at the chance to blame its decade-long pattern of mismanagement and misrepresentation on something else, and is not above using teachers that are casualties of the district’s own shady dealings to do so. Continue reading
Posted in POLICY
Tagged Budget Cuts, Cost Efficiency, Frank Morgan, Funding, Herbert Berg, Jim Rex, Kershaw County, Lexington One, Lexington/Richland 5, spin, The State
“…as a school district, we have an obligation to make sure our community is as informed as possible about events and issues.”
Full time lobbyists and publicists from the public education System have been hard at work in recent weeks.
As families and businesses strain under the pressures of the economic down turn, the taxpayer financed spokespersons for Government Schools are demanding ever-more public money for their “great schools” as well as their “dropout factories.”
Case in point: Lexington/Richland School District Five
In mid-May the State Newspaper reported that 70 classroom teachers had been laid off.
District spokesman Buddy Price’s comments in the article left readers assuming that cuts were simply the result of the ongoing Stimulus fight between South Carolina’s legislative and executive branches.
Now, recently released details from the District Five Comprehensive Annual Financial Report indicate the “cuts” are more likely the result of inflated staff growth spanning a decade, than a short term downturn in state funding.
Consider these details from Table 18 of the report: Continue reading
With $11,000 you can buy this sapphire diamond engagement ring – or pay the South Carolina public schools to “educate” one child (of which only $4,800 will reach the classroom).
The Internet Pipes are packed full of high-drama coverage of the “devastating” effect that budget cuts will have on South Carolina public schools.
State Superintendent Jim Rex (D) has made many heavily-publicized claims about the inevitability of job losses and harm to classrooms if the state legislature does not come up with enough money.
Parents have been told in no uncertain terms: their children will suffer because of crippling cuts to public education.
Rex’s own lavish spending growth on personal consultants and expansion of his high-salaried full-time staff suggests that raising the public alarm is more of an organizational PR strategy than an earnest cry for help. Continue reading
Posted in POLICY
Tagged Budget Cuts
Consulting: why fix a broken school system when you can profit from its failures?
The economic forecast is still calling for rain, and public education officials have not been shy about the need for more money.
Despite gloomy predictions about massive cuts cutting out classroom teachers, State Superintendent Rex has been placed in the awkward position of explaining large amounts of spending on education “consultants” and contractors.
Especially uncomfortable was Rex’s attempt to portray payments to former campaign manager Zeke Stokes- and various other holdovers from Inez Tenenbaum’s administration- as vital expenses for improving education in South Carolina. Continue reading
Senator W. Greg Ryberg (R-Aiken) dropped a bombshell in the South Carolina Senate today.
He announced that twelve sitting members of the SC General Assembly have failed to properly file and pay their state income taxes. The combined liabilities of just three of the House Members who are negligent exceed $21,000.00
“The idea that any member of the General Assembly would hold the laws of this state in so little regard that they simple ignore them when they find them inconvenient truly offends me.”
Sen. Ryberg, an outspoken advocate of fiscal discipline and efficient use of public money, proceeded to introduce a series of bills that would require legislators and state constitutional officers to pay their taxes or forfeit their public office. Gubernatorial appointees would be held to the same standard. Continue reading
Across the state, school district administrators are trying to determine how to deal with state budget cuts. Jim Rex, and other education officials, have declared public education spending to be in desperate straits, but have yet to get desperate enough to start really cutting off extraneous expenses.
Every month, hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent on “Non-State Education and Training Services.” As The Voice has pointed out before, this category of expenditures can be more accurately described as “Consultants and Contractors.”
In February of 2009, the State Department of Education spent $358,398 on non-state consultants and contractors. Going through a list of the expenses reveals little but the name of the company receiving the money, and the amount of the check. For all the taxpayers know, these people could have all been paid to consult on toilet fixtures at the Rutledge Building.
Some people (mainly the contractors) might protest that these are very necessary costs, incurred in the carrying out of actual instruction. Maybe, but how are taxpayers supposed to ever discover the real nature of these expenses?
If parents are being warned that classroom instruction could be harmed by budget cuts, then they have a right to know why this much money is being spent, and exactly what it is being spent on. If teachers are being told that they could lose their jobs in local classrooms, then they have every right to know what the money that could be paying their salary is being spent on. Continue reading
In the last year, public schools in South Carolina have endured $360 million in state budget cuts.
While many classroom teachers are fearing for their jobs, there are legions of consultants, bureaucrats and administrators who continue to cash-out from the $11,480 per child public school spending.
Just as the budget crisis worsens, parents are getting more bad news about public school performance. Unlike the budget crunch, which began in November of last year, low test scores, growing race- and wealth gaps, a 55% graduate rate and a surge in the number of failing public schools are a long term trend in South Carolina public schools.
In the latest round of bad news, parents were shocked to learn that according to a nationwide study, 11 of the country’s worst performing public schools are located in South Carolina. Of those 11 persistently failing schools, 4 are located in Charleston South Carolina.
Now it appears that principals at 2 of those schools will receive salary bonuses this year! Continue reading
Tagged Brentwood Middle School, Budget Cuts, Clyde-Sanders, Kala Goodwine, Lawanda Glears, Mishawnda Moore, Morningside Middle School, Nancy McGinley, News and Views, post and co, Post and Courier, worst schools
South Carolina’s 2009-10 budget bill is moving through the legislative sausage factory.
After receiving third reading in the House, H. 3560, the appropriations bill for 2009-2010, received first reading in the Senate on March 11th and was referred to the Senate Finance Committee.
The single largest item in this budget is K-12 public education.
According to H. 3560, the “base student cost” for the current fiscal year has been determined to be $2,342 (down from $2,578 last year). The total statewide pupil count is projected to be 691,816 (up from 690,363 last year).
This “base student cost” is the basis of a complicated formula that dictates the district-specific calculations for state and local government spending on public education in South Carolina. It gets a lot of press but only covers only a small fraction of the total public funding of education. Continue reading