Tuesday, October 03, 2006
NORTH PLATTE BULLETIN:
NEBRASKA DISTRICTS SPENDING MILLIONS
ON CONVENTIONS, JUNKETS
A Sept. 20 report by www.northplattebulletin.com showed that Nebraska's K-12 school districts are spending millions of dollars each year to pay dues to educator groups, pay a school-board secretary, hire lobbyists, and send school administrators and school-board members to conventions and conferences often on the East or West Coasts.
The North Platte district, for example, spent $60,000; the state's largest district, the Omaha Public Schools, spent $3.7 million.
The figures are from a review of 2004-05 school district audited financial reports on file with the Nebraska Department of Education, produced by Class Ones United, a citizens' group working to preserve Nebraska's elementary-only rural schools with Initiative 422 on the Nov. 7 ballot. The group contends that the small Class I schools are more fiscally responsible than larger districts, and forego lavish expenditures for educators to attend such meetings.
A sampling of other findings:
Lincoln and Millard, nearly $2 million
Nebraskans can see how much their district spends for various categories, including school board expenditures, by visiting the State Education Department's finance website and typing in your district's name:
Class Ones United president Mike Nolles of Bassett criticized the spending, saying the larger the district, the more spending there tends to be for optional items such as consultants and conferences.
Nolles said, “Class Ones spend money for teachers and modest buildings, not traveling around the country for free weekend getaways or hiring someone to tell us how to operate. We’re seeing some real excessive spending at larger schools.”
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