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Richmond County school board questions increased travel costs

Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014 10:04 PM
Last updated 10:24 PM
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Although the majority of travel costs are covered by grant funding rather than the district’s general budget, Richmond County teachers, administrators and board of education members have steadily taken more trips since 2010, prompting some board members to raise questions about efficiency.

School officials spent $441,195 on travel in the 2012-13 school year, of which about $200,200 came out of the general budget. The rest was paid for with grants. That’s up from $291,220 for travel in 2010, with $128,238 of that coming out of the district’s bank account.

Board member Patsy Scott asked Superintendent Frank Roberson on Tuesday to analyze the spending and make sure all travel being done is actually required.

“The Richmond County Board of Education has invested heavily in our staff to attend conferences, and I support professional development … however, I want to make sure that we receive the return on our investment.”

Scott said she wants a report on what is garnered from these trips and whether the training is translating back into the classroom.

Roberson said some of the travel covered by grants is required for the district to maintain the funding. However, with one major federal grant set to run out this summer and another having expired last year, Controller Gene Spires said travel this year will be greatly reduced.

Board member Helen Minchew said she is concerned that the general fund has covered increasingly more of the costs over the years – $72,000 more since 2010.

Minchew said she wants to see that this travel is actually having an impact on student achievement, and if it’s not, changes must be made.

“I’m concerned about the general fund for obvious reasons,” she said. “I think we need to know that these are required.”

Roberson said he will have a report for the board about travel at the monthly meeting in Febru­ary.

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Riverman1
83905
Points
Riverman1 01/14/14 - 11:52 pm
11
2
Attending Meetings Didn't Help

I don’t know what those conferences were for, but with the dismal results the Richmond County School District receives on statewide testing and its horrendously low graduation rates, make sure they don’t go back to those same meetings.

scoobynews
3854
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scoobynews 01/15/14 - 03:32 pm
8
2
Typical.

They had money to burn from Race to the top funds so they did. $400,000 worth of it.

class1
299
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class1 01/15/14 - 07:20 am
7
0
Travel yet furlough days

They even sent a bunch of principals and coaches to Harvard!

teacher09
12
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teacher09 01/15/14 - 08:28 am
6
0
my.voice
4824
Points
my.voice 01/15/14 - 09:33 am
5
0
Here's the problem with the

Here's the problem with the current mindset. Even the WRITER says "Although the majority of travel costs are covered by grant funding" as if grant funding is magic.

400k in travel and we have no teachers? hmmmm someone needs to take an accounting class.

nocnoc
42557
Points
nocnoc 01/15/14 - 10:06 am
5
0
This should be SOP.

It was Stand Operating Procedure anytime I sent a Consultant or Staff Member off for train-up, that they provide me with a summary report on what they learned, and how it will be applied to the practice by COB on their return.

jimmymac
39731
Points
jimmymac 01/15/14 - 10:15 am
1
0
EDUCATION
Unpublished

One of the main reasons people resist funding increases for education is that the citizens see how money is often wasted. Every time a tax increase is requested it's always pushed as money "for the kids". In reality the more money the schools have the more they have to waste. The kids are always last in line and often the actual teachers are as well. The money and high salaries stay at the top. The trickle down is alive and well in education with kids and teachers at the bottom.

itsanotherday1
43123
Points
itsanotherday1 01/15/14 - 10:23 am
3
0
It would be interesting to

It would be interesting to see how their spending compares with other counties, in other words, what is the "norm".

lifelongresident
1323
Points
lifelongresident 01/15/14 - 11:39 am
0
0
over $400,000 ?!?!?!?!?
Unpublished

over $400,000 ?!?!?!?!? that's enough to pay a teacher's salary for 6-10 years...well i guess they believe they did a good job educating the "prah-jek kids" so they deserve a vacation...if anyone deserves a vacation it is the teachers and davidson/johnson/walker they turn out superior student every year and get little or no recognition...meanwhile across the street fron johnson you have laney that graduates absolutely no one and they are rewarded with money, renovated school, and a football stadium and the laney graduates are functional illiterates unable to even read the diploma they are given only able to count as high as the number of welfare kids they have or are in their family and how to cut and sell weed and rock, and can read only well enuff to look at a calender to determine the nest time they get their EBT/welfare check

countyman
20120
Points
countyman 01/15/14 - 12:31 pm
2
1
RCBOE

Why does somebody who lives in CC always want to generalize everything in RC? The Richmond County graduation rate grew faster since 2011 compared to Columbia County. 3% vs 0%

The RCBOE can definitely do better and they need to begin with the new elementary/middle on Gordon Hwy near Fort Gordon..

The RCBOE needs to focus on competing against the cities of Atlanta, Savannah, Macon, Columbus, and Athens..

They also have to promote the good schools in the county and stop letting the people who don't even live in RC create the narrative.

The next focus should go towards getting more wealthy families in RC to use the public school system.. The elementary schools are usually the easiest to change with new young families..

Sweet son
10398
Points
Sweet son 01/15/14 - 12:36 pm
1
0
Hey Tracey!

How about a list of the 'offenders?'

Itsallnew11
547
Points
Itsallnew11 01/15/14 - 01:13 pm
2
0
You can't compare....

the cost of travel from Richmond/Burke/Columbia County to the cost of travel for Atlanta, Savannah, Macon, Columbus, and Athens (school systems of comparable size) because a great deal of the conferences attended are held in those areas so they have minimal travel cost.

Truth Matters
6834
Points
Truth Matters 01/15/14 - 05:34 pm
2
0
@Countyman 11:31 am...Amen! I

@Countyman 11:31 am...Amen!

I will admit that the total cost seems large and the two trustees are to be commended for sounding the alarm for the central office to watch things. Granted we do not know the full back story such as why some training is not held locally, but when I worked as a consultant I found that many operations did not like traveling to Augusta because it was "not an easy area to access travel-wise." You can get here from Atlanta on I-20 and every other entry is a "back road." It is a big difference when teachers live in a metro area like Atlanta and can commute to the training venue. There would be no expenses for lodging and food which is the biggest chunk in a travel budget. For many grants the cost of travel is built-in. I don't think the grantee can take that money and do otherwise once the grant is approved.

crossyourarms
215
Points
crossyourarms 01/15/14 - 09:14 pm
1
0
List.

How about a list of what meetings were attended and by whom?

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