Granger, IA embezzlement shows why more sunlight needed on school financials

By Steve Gunn on Wednesday, August 1st, 2018 in Spending

GRANGER, Iowa – The horrific fact is that large-scale embezzlement happens far too often in America’s public school districts, frequently because adequate accountability procedures are not built into financial systems. Lots of people deserve a share of the blame when this occurs: the employees who actually steal the money, the district administrators who don’t keep […]


Jasper, MO taxpayers learn the hard way school districts need financial oversight after embezzlement scandal

By Steve Gunn on Wednesday, August 1st, 2018 in Spending

JASPER, Missouri – Far too often, it takes a financial disaster to remind public school officials that they need to be careful guardians of public dollars. In 2016, the small Jasper, Missouri school district experienced such a disaster. In the spring and summer of that year, school officials began noticing a pattern of unauthorized purchases, […]


REPORT: If Illinois consolidated half of school districts, billions could be saved

By Steve Gunn on Wednesday, August 1st, 2018 in Spending

CHICAGO – You can be sure there would be a huge outcry if Illinois state lawmakers tried to lower the number of school districts in the state. Some of the loudest cries would come from public school administrators, because there are a lot of them, they make really good money, and a significant number would […]


SURPRISE! California school districts used 2012 tax hike to simply increase spending

By Steve Gunn on Wednesday, August 1st, 2018 in Spending

SAN DIEGO – In 2012, California voters approved Proposition 30, which greatly increased personal income taxes for those making more than $250,000 per year, as well as the state’s sales tax. Billions of dollars of the resulting revenue were directed to the state’s public schools, intending to halt teacher layoffs, end cuts to student programs, […]


School officials get angry with curious TAXPAYERS — after paying 680% above appraised value for vacant land!

By Steve Gunn on Monday, July 30th, 2018 in Spending

LEXINGTON, S.C. – Is it OK for public school officials to berate citizens for being concerned about potential corruption and waste of their tax dollars? Residents of Lexington County School District One in South Carolina were recently upset when they learned that their school board voted unanimously to pay $982,980 for 55 acres of vacant […]


Baltimore schools officials play race card to deflect from history of mismanagement, corruption

By Steve Gunn on Wednesday, August 1st, 2018 in Spending

BALTIMORE – Sometimes financial mismanagement in public schools does not involve foolish or fraudulent spending. It can be as simple as incompetent school officials failing to use financial resources for critical purposes when they are readily available. In January, Baltimore City Schools closed for several days due to frigid conditions in classrooms throughout the school […]


‘What does it cost to educate a child?’ Turns out a lot, thanks to expensive school administrations

By Steve Gunn on Wednesday, August 1st, 2018 in Spending

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. – On April 25, Bob Moore, the assistant superintendent for finance and operations at the Bloomfield Hills school district, hosted a public event called “What Does it Cost to Educate a Child in Michigan?” We’re guessing that the meeting was designed to help taxpayers understand just how costly it is to operate […]


Brandywine, DE data shows school administrators often more costly than reported

By Steve Gunn on Wednesday, August 1st, 2018 in Spending

WILMINGTON, Del. – A news site called Exceptional Delaware recently addressed the topic of administrator salaries in the Brandywine, Delaware school district. The website noted that Brandywine Superintendent Mark Holodick was the highest paid public school official in the state in 2014, with a reported income of $214,176, with his base salary and benefits added […]


Highly paid Carmel Clay, IN administrators on paid leave for months — and the public wasn’t told why

By Steve Gunn on Wednesday, August 1st, 2018 in Spending

CARMEL, Indiana – The Carmel Clay school board has not been very open with taxpayers about a recent scandal that led to the resignation of the district’s superintendent and human resources director. The board also remained tight-lipped about why the district kept the two administrators on paid leave, drawing their huge salaries and benefits, for […]


New Mexico study suggests students thrive with leaner school administration

By Steve Gunn on Wednesday, August 1st, 2018 in Spending

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M – Some experts argue that public school districts need strong central leadership – meaning a large contingent of highly-paid administrators – to be successful. But the evidence suggests otherwise, at least in New Mexico. The Texico, New Mexico school district only has three administrators working in its central office – a superintendent, business […]


Troy, MI school district’s open records produce more questions than answers

By Steve Gunn on Wednesday, August 1st, 2018 in Spending

TROY, Mich. – If you seek financial information from a public school district – or any government agency, for that matter – be very careful how you word your open records request. Schools are not legally required to give citizens complete information, and often will not, if you’re not precise in your request. The Troy, […]


OR school leaders threaten painful budget cuts — as top administrators make bank

By Steve Gunn on Monday, July 23rd, 2018 in Spending

HILLSBORO, Ore. – Whenever state legislators across the nation have debates about K-12 school funding, nervous local school administrators start throwing out the same scary words: Budget cuts and layoffs. If an obvious tactic to stir up parents and convince them to call their legislators and whine for more K-12 funding. But usually, when the […]


CA school district demands over $6,000 — to see spending records!

By Steve Gunn on Friday, July 20th, 2018 in Spending

Taxpayers have the right to know how their local schools spend their hard-earned dollars. That’s why open record laws exist across the nation – so citizens, or the media acting on their behalf, can gain access to financial records and share the data. Unfortunately, many open record laws provide public schools (and all government entities) […]


Healthy pay for administrators leaves the Oakland school district in financial peril

By Steve Gunn on Sunday, July 22nd, 2018 in Spending

OAKLAND, Calif. – It’s one thing if a public school district lands on the financial rocks by overspending on things that benefit students – like quality teachers. It’s quite another when a district wastes its resources on salaries and benefits for overpaid administrators who don’t teach kids anything at all. The second scenario has left […]


San Jose school board complains of ‘tidal wave of expenses’ — as administrators average $140,783 in pay

By Steve Gunn on Sunday, July 22nd, 2018 in Spending

SAN JOSE, Calif. – A recent story in the San Jose Mercury News indicated that public school districts across California – including the local San Jose Unified district – were “scrambling to balance their budgets.” The main reason? Increases in salaries, health benefits and pension contributions for employees, according to the news report. The situation […]