ALBANY, Ga. — Financial documents obtained by Dougherty County School Board member David Maschke show the school system has paid out nearly $700,000 to 76 different consultants over FY 2012.
Global Teachers Research and Resources topped the list at $120,765, while Darrell Sabbs and Associates was next at $91,000.
“Most of this list is absolutely fine, but not all of the names are,” said Maschke. “What is obvious is that we have a lack of institutional control and a lack of checks and balances, and I believe it is an ongoing issue within the system.”
Maschke pointed to the Sabbs contract as an example, saying he did not recall the board voting on entering into a contract in which Sabbs and Associates would receive $13,000 a month for providing twice-monthly reading services for at-risk fourth-graders through his “Saturday Academy.”
Fellow board member Darrel Ealum also said he could not recall the agreement coming before the board.
The contract was authorized by DCSS Director of Title I Programs Betty Graper.
“My talent is in youth development, and I’ve been doing it successfully for more than 30 years,” Sabbs, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital’s Community Benefits Coordinator, said. “The Saturday Academy program employs 20 teachers and serves over 50 fourth-graders in Title I schools in Dougherty County. The program enhances reading skills and comprehension for our children.
“I also work with students in Terrell County, and their graduation rate went from 40 to 70 percent due to my student support. And you need to remember that all of this money stays here locally, it doesn’t go to some company in Macon.”
Maschke asserts that board approval was bypassed in violation of policy that reads: “The Dougherty County Board of Education shall approve all contracts of any kind and shall authorize their execution by the Chairman, or in his absence the Vice-Chairman and the Superintendent. Provided, however, the Superintendent is authorized to enter into contracts with an aggregate amount of no more than $40,000 without prior Board approval if payment of such contracts has been provided for in the annual budget adopted by the Dougherty County Board of Education.”
Maschke said he was not surprised at what the 12-page document furnished by the DCSS Finance Department contained.
“My first look at the consultants list confirmed to me the suspicions I had of improprieties and a failure to adhere to established policies,” said Maschke.
However, Maschke did not take issue with much of the list, pointing to $20,405 paid to Gail Durham for services provided to visually-impaired students as a worthy expenditure.