It’s that time again. The time when South Carolina taxpayers can see just how much money the “strapped” SC State Department of Education has paid out to education contractors and consultants during a recession.
This month, almost $400,000 was doled out to a variety of consultants, contractors and political advisers. Unfortunately, those aren’t the only people who got paid big bucks. Teachers may be on furlough, or without work, but SCASA managed to somehow squeeze $29,000 from taxpayers. Were some of these other payments made to folks who had booths set up at the recent SCASA oceanside retreat? Rex’s frequent excuse that contractors are brought in to “save the department money” certainly doesn’t hold water in this instance.
Here is a recap of consultant spending in 2009.
- Year to Date- $2,145,056
Here is a complete list of contractors and consultants who received checks from the Department of Education in June 2009. See it for yourself here.
In his televised “State of Our Schools” talk, Rex addressed an uncomortable question posed by The Voice: If schools are so broke, why are many administrators running up bills at a “Leadership Conference” in Myrtle Beach that they fully intend to hand off to the taxpayers back home?
Besides trying to minimize the question with condescending laughter, Rex pointed out that only 800 bureaucrats were in attendance, unlike the 1800 that attended last year. Additionally, representatives from some of the state’s most challenged schools were in attendance, and the issues facing them must be addressed in the setting provided by the SCASA ( South Carolina Association of School Administrators) “Leadership Conference.”
Rex finished off by pointing out that a significant portion of the state’s tourist revenue comes from Myrtle Beach, and that cancelling the “long-standing” SCASA conference would be detrimental to the tourism industry.
So taxpayers should pony up for district bureaucrats to take a sea-side vacation because they don’t want tourism revenues in Myrtle Beach to decline? Even in times of economic prosperity, people would balk at this kind of expense ( if they knew) in the name of “education.” How much more now, when teachers are being laid off, and parents are being warned that class sizes and their property tax bills could be increasing?
Some administrators chose not to attend, and to spare local parents the burden of paying for the trip. Others felt that attending was important enough for them to pay for the trip out-of-pocket. Tough times call for tough spending practices, and trips to Myrtle Beach don’t fit that description.
“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
Footage of Jim Rex speaking at his self-styled “townhall meeting” dancing around the issue of real school choice.
Superintendent Rex is clear: “Parents and students want more choices.”
Rex further explains that those children in school districts with the fewest choices are probably the students who need them most.
Sadly, despite the rhetoric, Rex is using untold sums of public money to fight against the school choices parents want.
South Carolina State Superintendent of Education Dr. Jim Rex admits to the existence of “dropout factories,” which he blames for the state’s shameful 55.6% on-time graduation rate.
Video footage was taken of Rex speaking at Education Department orchestrated “Town Hall meeting” at Greenville’s J.L. Mann High School on May 28, 2009.
Despite the shameful dropout rate, Rex is committed to blocking serious reform being push by parents and educators across the state.
Posted in POLICY
Tagged Dr. Jim Rex, drop-out, drop-out factories, dropout factories, dropout rate, Educational Effectiveness, graduation rate, Jim Rex, public schools, School Choice, South Carolina, Superintendent Jim Rex, What "The Voice" is All About
Jim Rex was elected in late 2006 on a promise to reinvent South Carolina public schools. His “together we can” mantra invited great optimism among teachers and parents, despite the fact that his election victory was the result of a plurality, not a majority.
Two years later Rex’s promises remain unfulfilled and conditions at our public schools have deteriorated.
Since 2006, the differences between black and white children’s test scores in math and English have worsened. Statewide, daily attendance at school and the number of on-time graduations have crept down. Average SAT scores have dropped for all student types and the gaps between scores of white and black students have grown. The white/black SAT participation rate has also widened. Scores for high school End-Of-Course exams have sunk in both math and science. Even the “best” public schools in South Carolina are in a slump: in 2006 the average SAT score in York District 4 was 107 behind scores at public schools in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. In 2008 the York 4 students had fallen 126 behind their North Carolina peers. Continue reading
South Carolina’s elected State Superintendent of Education Jim Rex has said and done some ridiculous things in the name of “the kids.” He is also one of just eight Chief State School Officers in the US to be selected through a partisan political election. In Rex’s case, political pandering often means putting politics before students.
Here is a top ten list of the Voice’s picks for his most surreal and absurd stunts:
#10. Sneaky: Eight months after frantically publicizing the private donation of a massive “teacher renewal center,” Jim Rex quietly admits taxpayers may actually be footing part of the bill.
#9. Confused: Jim Rex sends out a press release congratulating himself for his focus on improving the drop-out rate when federal officials singled his department out for its misleading reporting and low-graduation rate.
#8. Finger in the dam: Jim Rex announces “Attendance Awareness Week” to combat South Carolina’s crippling 45% high school drop-out rate.
#7. Too little, too late: Two years and 56,000 high school drop-outs after taking office, Jim Rex holds a high school graduation summit to address the drop-out problem in South Carolina. Continue reading