Tag Archives: waste

SC Schools still a cash cow for consultants

consultant

In December of 2008, the State Department of Education was well aware that budget cuts would be affecting public schools across the state. Teachers and other district employees feared for their jobs, while bean counters worried that money might be too tight to even put fuel in school buses.

Even during this time of uncertainty and restricted funding, consultants were confident that fat government contracts would keep rolling in.
According to the State Comptroller General’s “Spending Transparency” site, the SC Department of Education paid out-

•    $130,500 to Insite, LLC: a “highly accomplished woman-owned assessment company, providing test development, training, and data-collection services.”
•    $211,850 to TAPFIN Process Solutions: “With a focus on human capital management, TAPFIN deploys successful solutions delivered with our commitment to people, process and technology.
•    $17,732 to Educational Resources Group: “ERG is your best resource for consultants who provide professional development services to teachers, administrators, and classroom support personnel.”
•    $37,200 to South Carolina Association of School Administrators: tax funded lobbyists
•    $15,000 to Education Builders
•    $14,695 to The Assignment Agency
•    $11,755.52 to Malachied Inc. Continue reading

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“Lost Credibility”: Herald Journal Condemns District 7’s Wasteful Spending

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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.” Continue reading

Chastised Rex Waffles on Staff Cuts

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According to this article from the WIS News 10 website, Jim Rex came under pressure from leadership in his own party after State Department of Education plans to lay off mechanics, and cut pay for bus drivers, came to light.

Democrat Harry Ott wanted Rex to answer the same question that school district mechanics and bus drivers across the state no doubt have in their minds: Why should low-pay district employees take pay cuts, or lose their jobs, while scores of education bureaucrats continue to rake in huge, taxpayer-funded salaries?

In the face of these queries from members of his own party, Rex waffled and decided not to cut mechanics and bus drivers because it would cause “too many problems.” Continue reading

Pye in the Sky: Dorchester 2 Superintendent Not Living in Real World

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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! Continue reading

Anderson 5 Superintendent’s Talk/Actions Don’t Match up

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$30 million in bureaucratic spending growth has to come from somewhere!

Parents and teachers in Anderson County are wondering how an economic down turn will affect their public schools.

According to Betty Bagley, Superintendent of Anderson County School District 5, classrooms are going to bear the brunt of the funding cuts.

Bagley estimates that the cuts will result in $900,000 less for the district, which will “require” a teacher hiring freeze and ultimately lead to larger class sizes for students.

The blame for the district losing money- according to Bagley- falls squarely on the legislature for limiting the local districts’ ability to continually raise single family home property taxes.

Never mind that Anderson District 5’s schools already enjoy a combined $11,021 in total local, state and federal per student funding. Anderson 5 officials want the ability to continue raising taxes. Continue reading

Spartanburg Superintendent Livin’ High on the Hog

Is a $14,400 annual travel stipend too small?

Feel free to request $6,000 in additional “conference travel” costs …you deserve it!

Even with the SC Department of Education expecting to deal with significant budget cuts, not a word has been said about district superintendent salaries and benefit packages. Classroom instruction and school buses might feel the bite of limited funds, but not the taxpayer-funded expense accounts of unaccountable district superintendents.

Just yesterday The Voice exposed the incredibly wasteful and unwarranted personal spending by the superintendent of Barnwell 19 school district. Sadly this kind of waste is the norm in many school districts around South Carolina.

Spartanburg County public schools are often held up as being some of the best achieving public schools in the state. Spartanburg School District 3 is among these.

What most parents in Spartanburg School District 3 probably do not know, is the extraordinarily large amount of money spent on and by Jim Ray, the District 3 superintendent.

The median income for a family living in Spartanburg County is about $45,000. Per capita income for the county is only $18,738.

Though 67% of students in the district are living in poverty, Ray has carved out an incredibly lucrative position for himself. In contrast to the families he “serves,” Ray makes an incredible $142,063 for leading and directing the under performing schools in District 3. This salary is over three times as much as the average family in his district, even before factoring in the $14,400 annual stipend for “local mileage,” and $1446 a year for dues to SCASA and the Rotary Club!

How do the schools under his care perform? Certainly Ray’s generous $151,909 salary package is justified by equally high performance? Continue reading

Administrator Benefits More Certain than Teachers’ Jobs

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. Continue reading