Spending more is not the answer to creating more successful schools in America. Empirical evidence shows school districts that spend the most taxpayer money per student, especially Washington, D.C., schools, are in fact among the worst performing in the country.
Still, the left prefers to deny such stubborn facts, and their mission remains even more of a burden on a struggling economy to prop up troubled schools.
One may wonder what it is school staff does with their constant inflow of taxpayer money. This was exactly what the Baltimore Sun sought to expose when it requested the city’s school district’s spending reports for the previous 18 months.
The results show rampant waste of funds following a program implemented in 2011, which allowed a select number of employees access to credit cards with very little oversight.
School administrators somehow defended the program and expenditures therein. The Baltimore school system’s CEO, whose own card included a Valentine’s Day purchase at Victoria’s Secret, said staff used the program “in exactly the way we thought they were going to.”
Apparently, that includes nearly $14,000 in catering charges, lavish accommodations in $300 per night hotels during conference trips, and business dinners costing up to $100 a head.
Travel expenses are not allowed to be charged, according to program regulations, though a lack of accountability resulted in $67,000 in travel charges. Likewise, the purchase of gifts on school credit cards is prohibited, though that did not stop administrators from spending at least $600 on fruit baskets and other gifts.
Among the ludicrous restaurant charges is a lunch trip to Hooters – for students! When I was in school, I guess I would have been thrilled to take an expenses-paid trip to Hooters (or pretty much anywhere, for that matter), but as a taxpaying adult forced to slash my own entertainment budget, I view such flagrant disregard for how funds are spent as a slap in the face.
In all, the Sun’s report found about $500,000 in mismanaged funds over a year and a half, with two-thirds of that waste originating from the offices of 16 school administrators.
Though an ongoing investigation required certain staff members to repay some of the fraudulent charges, the majority of this money is likely gone forever, just more drops in a leaky bucket of wasted taxpayer money.
Please remember that this is just one city’s school district, and the mismanagement was found only because a media outlet forced its hand. How many more millions, or billions, are wasted every year by unscrupulous school administrators demanding more funding with one hand and spending like a drunken sailor with the other? Considering how uninterested most of the nation’s media are in exposing fraud, we’ll probably never know.
Photo Credit: nikki.jane (Creative Commons)