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Wednesday, September 27, 2006
9:00 – 9:30 AM Edgefield County Chamber of Commerce, 416 Calhoun Street, Johnston. 10:30 AM Edgefield Senior Citizens Center, 400 Church Street, Edgefield. 7:00 PM Reception at Persimmon Hill Country Club. Come Discuss Today’s Important Issues and Share Your Views
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School Board member living the "suite" life
web posted September 25, 2006
OPINION – It must be nice to be School Board member James Bibbs. In the past twelve months he has been spending his time, and taxpayer money, at locations like Charleston, Hilton Head, and Destin Florida. In fact, Mr. Bibbs has spent more days at conferences than he has attending school board meetings in Edgefield County in the twelve months examined. That is bad enough, but tack on billing for two-bedroom upgrades and even a “King Suite” costing taxpayers hundreds more that it should have and we have a real problem on our hands.
We do not begrudge school board members attending conferences to network with other South Carolina school systems; it is helpful and beneficial in improving school operations. How one can justify eleven conferences in just twelve months would be interesting to hear. The silent response so far has been deafening.
At issue too is why School Board member James Bibbs requires extravagant upgrades to contracted rates, including two-bedroom villas, when no other board member does so. Board members are not paid to go to these conferences to provide family or friends with a free vacation if that is the reason. No board member can justify a two-bedroom villa on the taxpayer’s back even if they tried.
Vice-Chairman Scott Chitty attended too many conferences by going to six between July of 2005 and July of 2006. At least he was able to actually come in $40 under budget for so many conferences. Bibbs exceeded the allowed expenditures by more than $600 for his near even dozen.
He should have to refund the overages to the school district.
We feel certain board member Mary Alice Jackson will be more than willing to refund the $34 in over billing she presented to be paid by the taxpayer. Will Mr. Bibbs be willing to return the hundreds he billed?
With teachers forced to pay for school supplies for their classes out of their own pockets the example set by a sitting school board member being one of waste and self-aggrandizing is not going to earn the respect of the teachers, parents, or taxpayers.
All the blame does not lie at the feet of Mr. Bibbs. School Board Chairwoman Sallie Cooks has to sign off on the expenses submitted by board members and we assume since she allowed it Mr. Bibbs just took advantage of it. There is plenty of blame to go around.
Due to the discovery of the over billing in just conferences, EdgefieldDaily.com will be looking into other expenses billed to taxpayers by the district school board. Including those board members at Fox Creek Charter High School, which has more than its share of financial woes.
With almost 67% of all county taxes going to the local schools, those in charge carry the utmost accountability for being fiscally responsible.
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