Sunday, May 10, 2020

R2 Supt. Travel Expenses

Reporter Michael Smith has written an interesting article for The Voice of Blythewood & Fairfield County about the travel expenses for the past two years of Supt. Davis. You can read the article here.

Davis' expenses and reimbursements show a pattern that deserves careful examination.

The Richland 2 Board should form an Audit Committee and look carefully at the expenses. The Board should also examine anticipated travel and expenses of the superintendent and not just allow him carte blanche for what he thinks he needs to do.

The Voice article quotes part of a prepared statement from District 2.

“It’s been a long standing practice in Richland Two that the superintendent attends professional learning opportunities with members of the board,” the statement reads. “The superintendent is charged with working with the school board to develop and implement policies that define organizational expectations and to establish and maintain effective channels of communication with board members.
“As a result, the superintendent regularly attends professional development conferences with school board members as a way to meet performance standards that are part of the superintendent’s evaluation criteria,” the statement continued.
That written, prepared statement follows wording used often in reports to the Board at meetings. In other words, lots of words that don't really mean anything. And does it lead to a question about how much Richland 2 School District spends for travel for Board members to attend the same meetings and conferences? How many Board members attended those same conferences, and at what cost?
Exactly how many of those conferences provided training on "working with the school board"? 
"Effective channels of communication with board members"? Is there something new we don't know about? Something besides telephone, email and in-person reports? 
For example, Board members have trouble getting sufficient advance information on which they will be expected to vote. Trustee Elkins-Johnson has asked for information sooner on more than one occasion. How many conferences must one attend to understand, when the Board asks for something, they get it?
In a subsequent article I'll write about some of the expenses that need careful review.