Robbing Peter to Pay Paul
$10K Maintenance Money for Travel Junket
By: Pat Hunter
November 2, 2008
On November 3rd Loudon County Commission will meet to consider taking action on several school board budget amendments. One budget amendment proposes to take $10,000 from the school maintenance budget for School Board travel. The old School Board voted to cut back travel in June 2008. Maintenance budget money is intended to fix aging school buildings not to be used for a Nashville junket by School Board members. Commissioners can put a stop to the School Board’s Travel plans.
At the Sept. 08, 2008 County Commission meeting, Commissioners did not approve a budget amendment that requested $47,000 line item transfer from the BOE Fund Balance to pay for non-certified school personnel salaries. Commissioners control the purse strings.
Back in June 2008 during the budget crunch, the School Board earmarked $17,000 in travel from the budget of the Office of the Superintendent. But at the October 10th School Board meeting, school administrators decided that the money should come from the Maintenance Budget, instead.
Commissioners Earlena Maples, Harold Duff and Wayne Gardin have openly aired concerns and their displeasure for using maintenance money for other uses. According to Commissioner Duff, maintenance money intended to repair the Loudon High School was used elsewhere. Because of life safety issues, the auditorium still remains closed until all repairs are completed.
Robbing Peter to Pay Paul is a big problem. Recently $50,000 was earmarked for an aging kitchen hood for Philadelphia School; $40,000 (est.) was transferred to pay for trailer set-ups. Another time, school administrators proposed using money intended for the Loudon High School life safety repairs to pay for a bus lane at Loudon Elementary School.
Please support School Board members Lisa Russell, Van Shaver and Steve Harrelson. Money for maintenance should be used for maintenance related issues, which helps the students and teachers maintain their school buildings to make it a safe learning environment. Discretionary travel for the Board should not come at the expense of the students.