Auditor and Education Commissioner call for revealing superintendent contracts and perks

03/14/2013 03:38 PM

After three reviews by the state auditor’s office found waste and abuse of power by school superintendents, Auditor Adam Edelen and Education Commissioner Terry Holliday are pushing to require more disclosure of superintendents’ compensation.

Last week the Auditor’s office revealed that the former superintendent of Dayton Independent Schools received $224,000 in unauthorized benefits and payments over eight years.

An audit from last year revealed that the Mason County School District also found that the former superintendent was receiving compensation in excess of his salary.

Then in October, the auditor’s office found the former superintendent of Breathitt schools exerted an excessive amount of control without proper board oversight.
The audit found the former superintendent unilaterally modified the school calendar last year and omitted 10 instructional days. As a result, the district paid teachers $526,350 for days not actually worked.

“When you conduct four investigations and three of which you find significant failings in which the people who were charged with administering school districts were to varying degress enriching themselves at the expense of their children – clearly it calls for new safeguards in place – to make sure that this kind of abuse can’t and is less likely to occur anywhere,” Edelen said.

Currently superintendent base salaries can be found online with the Kentucky Department of Education, but Edelen said it is time to go farther and let the media and taxpayers see a complete picture of total compensation packages.

Edelen in association with Education Commissioner Terry Holliday will be calling on additional reporting requirements including:

  • Monthly travel allowances
  • Exclusive use of a district vehicle
  • Use of district fuel or district credit card to purchase fuel
  • Payment or use of cell phone or internet services
  • Insurance
  • Leave time and maximum leave time allowed
  • Reimbursement for retirement contributions
  • Reimbursement of retirement annuity
  • Payment or reimbursement for educational tuition assistance
  • Association memberships

Tom Shelton, the superintendent of Fayette County Public Schools, also went through an audit, and Edelen said he could be an example to other districts.

Shelton said he agreed with the move to publish more transparent records, and was willing to act in good faith by providing his records at the announcement.

Holliday later said Shelton would have to wait in line because Holliday planned to make his own records public first on the Kentucky Department of Education’s website.

Holliday, who has been struggling with vocal chord issues spoke briefly at the announcement, but released a statement welcoming the changes.

“I welcome the Auditor’s recommendations and hope this will result in a greater level of fiscal oversight and responsibility in our school districts. It is the duty of us all to be accountable and good stewards of the taxpayers money,” Holliday said in a press release.

To see the beginning of the press conference watch below:

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm joined cn|2 in December 2011 as a reporter for Pure Politics. Throughout his career, Nick has covered several big political stories up close, including interviewing President Barack Obama on the campaign trail back in 2008. Nick says he loves being at the forefront of Kentucky politics and working with the brightest journalists in the commonwealth. Follow Nick on Twitter @Nick_Storm. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@twcnews.com.

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Comments

  • viewer wrote on March 15, 2013 01:59 PM :

    I think Auditor Adam Edelen is doing a excellent job for the state tax payer. I like what I see from this office. His staffs work speaks for itself and without knowing his politics , you couldnt tell what party he is with. The way it should be friends….Keep up the great work , Im sure there is a lot more out there to find.

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