Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

Editorials

December 5, 2012

Taxpayers cheated by school leader’s retirement

Dec. 5, 2012 —     Taxpayers in Mason County took one on the chin a few weeks ago when Tim Moore, the county school superintendent, slipped into retirement after helping waste nearly $200,000 in district funds.

    A former basketball coach in Rowan County and former middle school principal in Montgomery County, Moore left his post in the aftermath of a scathing audit by the state auditor.

    State auditors reviewed spending in the Mason County schools over a four-year period and said it was excessive, lacked oversight or proper documentation or had no clear business purpose and even did not go through the board’s own approval process.

    The report listed Moore, six other district administrators and all five school board members.    Included were meals at swanky restaurants by board members and administrators and expensive hotel stays, many tied to the state high school basketball tournament.

    Moore’s resignation letter said in part:

    "I do so knowing that I am ending my career amidst disappointment and regret. It is my desire that the district move forward and continue the challenging, but rewarding work of helping our students. Please accept my retirement with humility and sincerity with which it is written."

    When angry parents and other citizens tried to confront board members after that meeting, they were told that the board had no control over whether or not Moore kept his retirement benefits or if the district would be repaid any of the wasted funds.

    This man was the leader of one of the most successful and highly recognized school districts in Kentucky and twice was named superintendent of the year.

    The Maysville Ledger-Independent, one of this state’s top small daily newspapers, chastised the school board publicly, saying the members had “miserably failed in their responsibility to oversee the school system and the administrators they hired.”

    And when the media storm broke in Maysville and across the state, the school board members quickly circled their wagons by hiring an out-of-town lawyer to speak for them…at a cost of $235 per hour.

    The board also took action to retroactively approve perks and expenses, some say to relieve administrators of criminal liability.

    Mason County has bragged for years about the school system’s achievements, especially with a high number of disadvantaged children.

    The system is known statewide for its excellent sports program and for an arts program that is the dream of other districts.

    In our opinion, Moore and the school board members must be held accountable for their abuse of the public’s trust.

    The citizens of Mason County deserve nothing less.

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