School administrators in Baltimore, Maryland, have spent $500,000 in the last year and a half to party hearty on the taxpayers’ dime, according to a recent report in the Baltimore Sun entitled "City school credit, procurement cards show culture of spending." They even spread the wealth at such noted educational establishments as Hooters.
Even more surprising, the Sun reported, school officials defend most of the spending, which includes expensive gifts, lunches, and dinners for employees. Still, some officials did admit that dropping nearly $300 in a “breastaurant” didn’t look good for the schools.
The Sun reported that the spending, which violated city rules, comes at a time when the schools are angling for taxpayers to spend almost $3 billion in renovations to repair schools that are falling apart. And the latest report follows another that revealed a lavish renovation of city school offices, again, while the city’s schools crumble.
According to the Sun, “school administrators spent roughly $500,000 during the past year and a half on expenses such as a $7,300 office retreat at a downtown hotel, $300-per-night stays at hotels, and a $1,000 dinner at an exclusive members-only club, credit card statements show.”
The retreat for 16 at the Baltimore Hilton, the Sun reported, cost taxpayers $450 per person. That soiree included a $500 dinner at a Brazilian steakhouse. School employees also wasted $264 at a Hooters in Atlanta, Georgia.
The Sun, which reviewed school officials’ credit card transactions, “found that the bulk of the expenditures — about $300,000, generated by 16 central office employees — were made under a new procurement-card program that has operated with virtually no controls or oversight since it began in January 2011.”
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