Barnwell 19 Superintendent Teresa Pope hasn’t let the budget crunch stifle her luxurious traveling internerary.
Despite a looming budget crisis, and financial uncertainty wracking the nation, no mention has been made by Jim Rex of evaluating the excessive benefits granted to school district superintendents around the state.
Even with shamefully low academic achievement in their districts, superintendents continue to pull in unwarranted high salaries and numerous benefits.
Barnwell 19 provides a prime example of this kind of wasteful expense.
Take a look at Barnwell 19’s record on educating students-
- Since 2003, not a single one of the 3 schools in Barnwell 19 has met the federal Adequate Yearly Progress goals.
- The average SAT score for test takers in Barnwell 19 was only 826- a 36 point drop from 2007.
2008 PACT Scores
- 67.8% of 3rd graders in the district were “below basic” or “basic” in English/Language Arts!
- 84.2% of 3rd graders were “below basic” or “basic” in mathematics.
8th grade PACT scores show shockingly low achievement!
- Only 1.7% of 8th graders were proficient in English/Language Arts, none were “advanced.”
- Not one 8th grader in the district is proficient or advanced in mathematics! 70% are tested as “Below Basic.”
If the way to improve these abysmal scores was increased spending on administrators, the problem would be solved in no time!
Teresa Pope, superintendent of Barnwell 19, has not restrained her own spending to help the district ride out the financial storm.
In addition to her own salary of $110,000 a year, Pope spent an incredible $10,125 of taxpayer money in traveling expenses in the 2007-2008 school year.
On what, and to where?
That would be an easier question to answer if the expenses were clearly documented. Astoundingly, the majority of the thousands of dollars spent by Pope on personal accommodations are totally without description or clarification, and are simply listed as “travel” or- in several cases- just “Visa” (see documents at bottom).
What help to parents, teachers, and taxpayers! Pope has saved us all the trouble of knowing where and how she spends so many thousands of dollars marked for “education.” As long as it was spent on ‘travel’ and on a Visa card it must be a legitimate expense. Got a $1,500 tab for the taxpayers to pick up? No problem, we don’t even need to know what it was for. After all, we can always take the money out of the “bus fuel” and “teacher salaries” fund if times get tough.
There are a very few listings of Pope’s expenses that have a description attached, among them are-
Kingston Plantation Condos- $939.00
Crowne Plaza Resort- $421.38
How was the lobster tail?
Why should teachers have to worry about job security, while a bureaucrat making nearly three times as much ( the average teacher salary in Barnwell 19 is about $38,000) runs up large sums in personal travel expenses?
The money spent on plush hotels and gourmet meals by Pope could have purchased 2,820 gallons of diesel for Barnwell 19 school buses!
Funding for classroom instruction should never come under pressure because money is being wasted by entrenched bureaucrats at lavish junkets hosted by pseudo-educational, status quo embracers like South Carolina Association of School Administrators.
If Jim Rex cared about effectively using educational funding he would speak out against this waste. Judging from his track record, no one should hold their breath.