Parents in Spartanburg School District 7- and around the state- have been shocked and outraged by a recent decision by District 7’s leaders to pay out $200,000+ ( plus $5,000 annually) to the exclusive Spartanburg Country Club so the Spartanburg High School golf team can have access to the club’s facilities.
Superintendent Thomas White, whose condescending attitude toward real education options for parents has been covered on The Voice before, has come under heavy fire for his attempts to justify such a massive expense in a time of economic uncertainty.
White is himself a member of the country club, and stated in a Herald Journal article that the large expense was worth it because, ” There isn’t anything else in District 7 that can touch the Country Club of Spartanburg in terms of training facilities and the course.”
This from FITSNews–
“We gotta be honest, when we first wrote about this boondoggle yesterday, we figured there was no way that District 7 officials would be stupid enough to pursue an expense like this one in these economic times – not when teachers are being furloughed and threatened with layoffs. Amazingly, though, that’s precisely how stupid they were.”
Now an editorial from The Spartanburg Herald Journal has denounced the Spartanburg School District 7 leadership as having “lost its fiscal credibility.”
The following is from the editorial-
“The district has made a clear statement about its financial condition and its priorities. With a recession raging, the district has spent this money on a private golf course rather than save it for future needs. It will now have to maintain all its services regardless of the economy.
The district has also made a statement about its ethics. Most of the discussion of this matter was held behind closed doors. District officials failed to follow the requirements of the state Freedom of Information Act in discussing this deal. It seems as if they didn’t want their constituents to know much about it.
White and three of the district’s trustees are members of the country club. This is a conflict of interest. When that many members of the school board also belong to the club, the lines can get blurred as to who is representing which party in this contract.
This deal makes no sense in this economy. It is a public relations disaster for the district and the country club. School District 7 needs to back out of it.”
Bureaucrats like White may oppose real school choice under the guise of concern about “transparency and accountability,” but his actions are anything but accountable to the parents in his district. Spartanburg residents may want to question whether paying White $150,000+ a year for questionable behavior and improvident spending is worth it.
South Carolina parents need to be given real authority where the education of their child is concerned, and right now this is anything but the case. Like the fifteen other states that have adopted school choice programs; South Carolina should institute a comprehensive choice program that would empower parents and save the state money in the process. Hopefully lawmakers will be attentive to the educational needs of the families in ( and out) of their districts, and try to meet them through school choice.