Recently I was passed copies of Newark public School District’s expenditures for the month of march and April. Now, let me just state up from that I have never looked at expenditures for a school district before. I honestly never had a reason to. I was a trusting person. This past year has changed that. Looking through these pages, various items caught my eye.
The usual payouts that you would expect to see on a list of disbursements fro a school district are there, technology companies, educational suppliers, maintenance companies. But interspersed among these were several items paid to different restaurants, Urban Chicken, Seafood Palace, and Hobby’s Deli were a few. Some of the amounts were fairly negligible, maybe a little over $100. Some of the amounts were a more than that. I asked an administrator friend of mine for some suggestions about what these charges could represent. She suggested that maybe there were some sports banquets or other such events that food was provided for. She also suggested that at meetings, etc there is often food that is provided that comes out of the budget. Overall, this total for one month came to nearly $24,000. Amazing how those cookie trays can add up, isn’t it?
Looking through more of these numerous pages, another entry caught my eye. A payment was made to Cami Anderson herself for nearly $33,000. So again, back to my friend I went. The explanation that I received this time was that it may have been related to the car that the Cami was probably provided. Well, I was a little taken aback by that. A car. Why should a superintendent be given a car? I was told to think about it. After all, being a superintendent is a really tough job and well, getting qualified superintendents to accept positions in these districts is tough so extras like this are sometimes needed.
Really? If a person that is n charge of a school district is worthy of receiving a car during employment, why shouldn’t a teacher also be worthy? Teachers are the people that are interacting with the students, shaping their lives, trying to point them in the right direction. We are the gateway for future generations. Schools are not businesses that are supposed to make profits. We do not need to lure away the best people from other districts in order to give ourselves some type of advantage. This type of thinking is one of the things that are pitting districts against each other when our public schools should be unified.
Additionally, Cami Anderson was selected by the state. She was not chosen through a collaborative voice of parents, teachers, and students. The citizens of Newark have voiced their dislike of her, over and over again. The teachers do not want her. The students have suffered at her hands long enough. As an employee of the state, I feel that if a car is to be one of her job perks, then the state itself should be responsible for paying for it.
Let me state my disclaimer again. School budgets are new to me. I am sure that there are explanations for the many, many things that I have highlighted to research. But research them I will.
In the meantime, I have to wonder about a few things. Why am I being forced to research these items in the first place? I feel that there should be a little more transparency as to what each of the payouts is related to. A school board should have nothing to hide. Why are there so many payouts that are not directly related to providing for the students? Why are we so stuck in the way things have always been done that we cannot see that public schools need to make some changes in order to maintain their integrity of purpose? Why have there not been any changes made about some of these seemingly extraneous expenditures? The Newark School Board has been questioned this week in an open public forum about these food charges.
Will an answer ever be given? Or will these school board meeting continue to merely exist as a false venue that really accomplishes nothing while more people become frustrated at the lack of response from the board.
Who ate all of that food???
I haven’t even begun to total up the amounts that are being paid to various charter schools…