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Richmond Public Schools Grope for Answers to Massive Hotel Costs ^ | October 11, 2012 | Kyle Olson

Posted on 10/11/2012 9:04:00 AM PDT by Kaslin

As a part of EAGnews’ continuing school spending series, we revealed that the Richmond, Virginia school district spent a whopping $448,997 on hotels and $135,761 on a California-based travel agency in 2010-11.

The title of the series is “Where Your School Dollars Go…” and the educrats running the show in Richmond can’t seem to come up with a straight answer for that question. Maybe that’s why government schools never seem to have enough money.

CBS 6 reporter Sandra Jones broke the exclusive story Friday. At that time, district spokesperson Felicia Cosby told CBS 6:

“The information reported by EAG is not accurate. The organization requested a check registry which lists payments to vendors including pass-thru activities from state-operated and other programs…for which we are the fiscal agent, including the Math, Science and Innovation Center and the Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School. Therefore, the list does not correlate to the district’s spending activity.”

But five days later, Richmond Times-Dispatch reported:

“Cosby said school system finance officials were working to match payments to accounts but that the process ‘would be time consuming.’ She did not have a timeframe for when that process would be complete.”

She also said our report lacked “context.” In what context is it appropriate for a school district – or any public entity, for that matter - to spend over $600,000 on expensive hotels and resorts?

After paying $198 dollars to obtain the initial spending information, we sought answers on our own for the questionable spending. But the school district wanted to charge us another $62 for explanations regarding the spending we uncovered. So we let the dollar figures speak for themselves and left school officials to deal with the local media.

School board member Kim B. Gray raised an excellent point when she was asked about the spending and said she was amazed it would take any time at all for officials to track the reasons for the expenditures.

"In the computer and information age, it should already be there. Congress has a search engine for every travel expense. If Congress can do it, with billions of dollars at stake, the school division certainly can," she told the Times-Dispatch.

We have allowed government schools to operate like this for years. They jet staff off to four- and five-star resorts because “a grant” is paying for it, but in the next breath lay off teachers and cut student programming. It is a culture of out-of-control spending with little accountability that has created this situation.

This developing story should put other districts on notice: we’re watching, we’re digging and we’re going to expose the spending problem plaguing government schools.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial; Government; US: Virginia
KEYWORDS: economy; hotels; publiceducation; publicschools; richmondva; schools

1 posted on 10/11/2012 9:04:10 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

How about no more of these stupid “conferences” and “fact finding missions” on the taxpayer dime??

2 posted on 10/11/2012 9:15:19 AM PDT by GeronL (
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To: Kaslin

Oh yes, it’s so easy to spend somebody elses money. There’s just never enough is there?

3 posted on 10/11/2012 9:16:41 AM PDT by Perseverando (Gun control? It's the OBOTS who are filling up prisons for violent crimes, not the Tea Party.)
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To: Kaslin
all school systems are top heavy - far too many administrators, too many levels of management, too many clerical personnel - just like state and federal bureaucracies.

Every board of education should completely reorganize their district - decentralize their agency, giving individual schools more responsibility and authority.

The superintendent’s office should handle purchasing, building/bus maintenance and little else.

4 posted on 10/11/2012 9:21:50 AM PDT by elpadre (AfganistaMr Obama said the goal was to "disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-hereQaeda" and its allies.)
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To: Mad Dawg; EDINVA; Hawthorn; Paisan; VA_Gentleman; seekthetruth; COBOL2Java; Perdogg; kabar; Gabz; ..

VA Ping!

If you want on/off the VA Ping List, please freepmail me.

If you see posts of interest to Virginians, please ping me.


5 posted on 10/11/2012 9:30:09 AM PDT by randita
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To: Kaslin

““Cosby said school system finance officials were working to match payments to accounts...the process ‘would be time consuming.’ She did not have a timeframe for when that process would be complete.””

I worked in the private sphere. Our accounts were done monthly and quarterly and heaven help the schlub who lost vouchers or receipts.

Why is the state allowed to slide?

And we pay these people?

6 posted on 10/11/2012 10:07:23 AM PDT by OpusatFR
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To: Kaslin
Heads should roll for this kind of spending .... but they won't & the schools will continue to suffer.

From a CBS 6 story June 6, 2012.

The mayor’s school task force is expressing its disappointment at the Richmond School Board’s decision to lay off workers and furlough teachers.

The move comes after the board recommended other ways to make up for the district’s $15 million deficit.

From a WWBT 12 story (Oct 2012):

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - State education officials say 93 percent of Virginia's public schools are fully accredited after meeting state benchmarks.

In Richmond, 70 percent of schools hit the benchmark. 14 were accredited with warning. That's actually worse than city schools did last year - when only five were accredited with warning.

7 posted on 10/11/2012 10:13:43 AM PDT by MissMagnolia (Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't. (M.Thatcher))
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To: OpusatFR
Why is the state allowed to slide?

Dear Citizen,

Please understand that your betters need some freedom so that they can do the most difficult work or running your life. It is also considered rude to question your betters actions and motives.

With that in mind, please get back to work and pay your taxes.

8 posted on 10/11/2012 10:42:49 AM PDT by Drill Thrawl (I can haz CW 2 now?)
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To: All
Compared to organized crime and other criminal rackets, being a school supt is a money machine. Some of these organized criminal educators make $200,000-$500,000 per year with benefits and perks up the kazoo-----and platinum retirement packages they write for themselves (stupid boards sign off on them).

The criminal educators “retire” with fat pensions into another govt low-show job with six-figure salaries and more benefits.

Those who commit crimes, have sex with students, take bribes, falsify resumes and fail to live up to the problem. They get very large “buyouts”just to shut up and go away.

They all know each other so they spend valuable school time colluding on how to get more money and identifying which school district has the stupidest board that will hire questions asked.

But, hey. Not to worry---it's all "for the children."


AN EDUCATOR CON JOB UP CLOSE A former Minnesota school supt under fire for his $1 million retirement payout is suing---claims Minneapolis' Wayne Township Schools owe him even more money.

The greedy millionaire educator/supt's attorneys say the district breached his 2007 employment contract by prematurely ending his supt emeritus consulting the district still owes him (1) unpaid salary, (2) post-retirement contributions, (3) deferred compensation, and,(4) severance pay, but the claim does not give an exact dollar figure.

Ex-Supt Terry Thompson also takes aim at the school board's "multiple shortcomings" and accuses board members of not reading his contracts before signing them. Thompson publicy berated the school board:

"Any high school student would tell the board that, one, you read legal contracts before you sign them; two, you do not sign contracts that have terms you do not understand, and three, if you enter into an agreement, you honor it," the filing reads. "If any individual board member did not understand a particular provision, all that member needed to do was consult with the school board's attorney."

Arrogant Thompson also blasts the school district for spending more than $400,000 on attorney fees for an "ill brought lawsuit" against him.

The former Indiana Superintendent of the Year asked also accused his former school district of violating Indiana wage laws and requested the court award him damages.

When contacted for a response---the school district went deaf, dumb and blind-----the school district's attorney "said" she did not even have a copy of the counterclaim.

The district alleges that Thompson, through his attorneys, used multiple, complex contractual changes that were never discussed with or explained to board members to increase his annual salary from $218,000 in 2003 to $2.2 million in 2010, causing his retirement benefits to jump dramatically.

The legal complaint cites Thompson's move to remove the cap on sick days he could accumulate.Also, instead of getting $57 for each unused day, as other administrators received, Thompson changed his contract to give him 50 percent of his per diem rate per sick day, which was $413 in 2005 and increased each year, the district alleges.

The district claims Thompson lied to board members, assuring them that he had only made minor revisions to his contract, while falsely telling his attorneys that certain elements had received board approval.

"The district did not learn about or fully understand the extent of the former superintendent's fraudulent conduct until after a full investigation was conducted by independent legal counsel," according to the complaint.

9 posted on 10/11/2012 11:35:30 AM PDT by Liz ("Come quickly, I'm tasting the stars." Dom Perignon)
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To: All
CHECK THIS OUT IN YOU AREA Here's how easy it is for school crooks to ripoff healthcare programs----Obamacare costs will soar once the crooks get their filthy hands on it.

NARRATIVE A school supt was arrested in the fall of 2010 and charged with 17 counts of bribery, mail fraud and wire fraud. Authorities say that while serving as Toms River schools supt--the NJ school supt and a Maryland insurance broker--concocted a scheme to inflate school insurance charges and kick back part of the money to as bribes.

The two are accused of concealing more than $1 million in bribes from insurance brokers and other service providers.

The insurance company, Federal Hill Risk Management, served as the insurance broker for the school district since 1978. Court documents say the two men spent stolen money on home renovations, watches that cost tens of thousands of dollars, and other personal expenses. The supt also allegedly bought one girlfriend - who was also on the school district payroll - a car and other gifts, including money for the college tuition of one of her relatives, according to court papers.

A federal investigation of the insurance broker of Baltimore continues WRT bilking municipal and school insurance plans---he is under state indictment for allegedly bilking $2.6 million from Perth Amboy schools and more than $200,000 from the municipality, and was indicted by a federal grand jury.

The crooked broker's son-in-law and a business partner were charged with stealing $216,000 from Perth Amboy for a non-existent wellness program for city workers.

A NJ state grand jury issued an indictment in July charging the broker and two of Gartland’s companies, with a host of charges including money laundering, conspiracy, forgery and theft by deception.

Authorities said they bilked $2.6 million from the Perth Amboy schools over a six-year period. All defendants named in multiple indictments pleaded not guilty.

A third insurance man, of Bernardsville, pleaded guilty to theft by deception and false representation for a government contract in the same scheme targeting the school district.

The co-conspirator are alleged to have lied to the NJ school’s insurance carrier, Cigna----the insurance/educator cabal told Cigna Insurance Company that "the Toms River school board authorized" the insurance carrier to pay them fees on behalf of the school board from its medical claims bank account for health care related programs and services that never existed, authorities said.

That money, stolen from Nov 2003 to July 2009, went into kickback accounts controlled by the crooked insurance broker, the indictment alleges.

10 posted on 10/11/2012 11:37:39 AM PDT by Liz ("Come quickly, I'm tasting the stars." Dom Perignon)
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To: elpadre
The superintendent’s office should handle purchasing, building/bus maintenance and little else.

If they did just that then how could they justify giving a complete ignoramus with a worthless EdD degree a six figure salary for being a Superintendent? (do I really need a sarc tag here?)

11 posted on 10/11/2012 12:10:10 PM PDT by OldMissileer
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To: OldMissileer
none needed - we agree American schools are being screwed by a seriously inefficient system on the one hand and corrupt teacher unions on the other.

and then Obama names and the Senate endorses the Superintendent of the worst school system in America as Secretary of Education and everyone sits on their hands.

12 posted on 10/11/2012 4:29:47 PM PDT by elpadre (AfganistaMr Obama said the goal was to "disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-hereQaeda" and its allies.)
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