The idea of an “economic downturn” has yet to penetrate into the consciousness of some South Carolina bureaucrats.
Even though families are cutting costs and tightening their belts, school district administrators are demanding even more money.
Superintendent Joseph Pye is hardly running Dorchester School District 2 on a shoestring budget. The South Carolina Department of Education reports that-in 2007 alone- the district had expenditures of well over $214 million dollars. This amount of spending works out to over $10,000 per student.
Despite this considerable funding, Superintendent Pye had no qualms about demanding that taxpayers in Dorchester County hand over $2.8 million more than the funding required by state law!
In a June County Council meeting, Pye justified his eagerness to stick already- hurting local businesses with higher taxes by saying–
“ We’re going to fall even further behind…Political football is what it’s turning out to be, and the children are being caught in the middle.”
Budget cuts for state agencies, and driving off small businesses with high taxes are of no concern to Superintendent Pye. While families in Dorchester must deal with real-world economics, Pye gets to use their children as leverage to make sure he never feels the same financial pressures.
Business owners having to leave Dorchester because of tax increases means nothing to Pye. Will their misfortune make his $147,336 salary worth less? Even if struggling companies have to lay-off the parents of students in his own district, Pye will still collect his $900 a month for vehicle stipend and cash in on his $1,000 a month expense account.
As if this were not enough tax dollars to meet Pye’s needs, in 2007-2008 he ran up an additional $7,313.57 in travel expenses to “educational” conferences in Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach.
Instead of lavish self-treatment, Superintendent Pye needs to explain to parents why the average SAT score in Dorchester 2 dropped 11 points in 2008 (1004), thirteen points below the national average.