Article by Darren Lombardo - Delmarva Parent Teacher Coalition
During the 2023 school year, the Somerset County Public School administration spent nearly $286,000 on attending 59 trips across the U.S. to 19 different states. Many of these places were visited multiple times, including CA, TX, KY, PA, GA, and DC. A public information request was filed to obtain the information, which reveals this cost consisting of airfare, classy hotels and resorts, dining, conference tickets, car rentals, Uber, etc. One of the lavish trips cost taxpayers $39,600 for 11 people to go to an all-inclusive resort in San Antonio, TX. The record also includes local hotel stays in Ocean City, MD at the Fontainebleau Resort, and the Hyatt Regency in Cambridge, MD when administrators could have easily drove and slept at home.
This information was requested months ago, but it took Somerset's Superintendent to announce his resignation before it was released. The school district's academic performance is at the bottom of the barrel. Some may say that's why they're spending $286,000 on conferences in order to improve education. However, we have historically seen the more we spend, the worse things get. The "use it or lose it" mentality is at play, always rewarding this misbehavior with a 4-5% annual budget increase to only compound the situation. This has been going on for years, but the citizens of Somerset County have yet to see their rate of return.
Spending does not provide a solution. The main issue here is the responsible management and being a good steward of taxpayer resources. To date, board members William McInturff and Troy Brittingham, Jr. have completely dismissed any concern of financial waste, fraud, and abuse, and even work diligently to cover it up. It wasn't until the day board member Andrew Gleason took office that this was brought to light before the public.
The summary of the spending report can be downloaded here
The detailed spending report can be downloaded here.
Fellows & Editors
December 15, 2023
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