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.”
Superintendent Lucas, and the Oconee School District, are to be commended for sparing the taxpayers a needless expense during a time when everyone has been financially affected. Money is tight, and what districts do have should be channeled into classroom instruction, not luxury hotels and fine dining. Hopefully some of the district officials currently mingling in Myrtle Beach will choose to show real leadership, and follow the example of the Oconee School District in refraining for the sake of the students they are entrusted with.
It is a refreshing change of pace to have a local district superintendent working to keep funds flowing to the class, but unfortunately this seems be the exception rather than the rule.
Even so, parents in Oconee, as well as across South Carolina, need to know that fiscal responsibility and transparency ought to be the result of design, not personality. A well-run district (or in this case a single incident of financial discretion) still can not provide each and every child the best educational environment in every situation. Real educational reform, and a real pattern of fiscal responsibility in government schools, will only occur when all parents are free to choose the best school for their child (public or private) in the way that HOPE, LIFE, and Palmetto Fellows Scholarships work for college students.
If any readers know of other superintendents or districts that have chosen not to participate in this conference, please let us know.
This Just In:
Superintendent Frank Morgan, long-time reader and pictorial contributor to The Voice, likewise chose not to attend the SCASA conference in Myrtle Beach. Additionally, no Kershaw County School District employees will be reimbursed for hotel fees, meals or travel. Hopefully, this leadership in prioritizing spending will rub off on the 800 people who did attend.