Charleston County School Board member critics Elizabeth Kandrac, Elizabeth Moffly also boards biggest spenders
The two Charleston County School Board members who most frequently are at odds with the superintendent racked up the most expenditures this past year.
By the numbers
Charleston County School Board members’ expenditures from July 2011 through June 2012.
Elizabeth Moffly: $4,871
Elizabeth Kandrac: $4,201
Cindy Bohn Coats: $3,559
Craig Ascue: $3,452
Chris Collins: $2,372
Toya Hampton Green: $1,253
Chris Fraser: $1,238
Brian Thomas: $998*
Mary Ann Taylor: $588*
Ann Oplinger: $528
Board total: $23,060
*Taylor resigned in November 2011, and Thomas was appointed in February 2012.
Source: School District
Board members Elizabeth Moffly and Elizabeth Kandrac had more than $9,000 in combined expenses for travel and attending meetings.
Kandrac had been the board’s biggest spender for the last two years, but her total this year came in second at $4,201. Moffly had the biggest tab at $4,871, and she said that figure is tied to how involved board members are.
“It’s a direct reflection on your service to your constituents,” Moffly said. “It’s the time that you put in.”
Board members receive a $25 stipend for attending board meetings, which includes teacher and student appeal hearings, board workshops and committee meetings.
The board doesn’t receive payment for other activities, such as attending community or constituent board meetings.
Moffly proposed in November increasing board members’ pay to $15,000 annually, but the board majority didn’t support the idea.
“I’m not a volunteer,” Moffly said. “You tell me what other public volunteers you have.”
The nine-member board spent a total of $23,060 from July 2011 to June 2012, compared to last year’s $18,629 or the previous year’s $17,197. Board policy calls for the figures to be released each August.
Board Chairman Chris Fraser said he has not seen any evidence that the board is better for having spent the money.
Board members are allotted equal portions of its $25,000 budget for expenses, or about $2,777 each; the district’s total general operating fund budget is $357.1 million. The board agreed this year to waive members’ unspent portions to those who were spending more than their share.
The district initially released only the total for each board member, and Kandrac asked for a more detailed breakdown of the spending.
She was the only board member to address the figures at the board’s meeting this week. She said the newspaper reports her spending every year, and it’s important to remember the amounts are more than just travel. It shows what members are paid for being present at meetings, she said.
“It’s what you’ve been paid for your service,” Kandrac said.
The newspaper requested and received more detailed information on each member’s expenses. The document did not show how many meetings each board member attended. Members receive reimbursement for mileage to local and out-of-town meetings, as well as for attending in- and out-of-town conferences.
Kandrac and Moffly attended three conferences that no other board member did. They — along with Craig Ascue and Vice Chairwoman Cindy Bohn Coats — also attended the S.C. School Boards Association annual convention in Myrtle Beach.
Reach Diette Courrégé at @Diette on Twitter or 937-5546.