Hey administrators: Save money by staying home

While most local jurisdictions are doing more with fewer employees and fewer financial resources, one agency is standing alone.

The current recession – and the agency’s own $700,000 projected budget deficit – be damned, North Kitsap School District Superintendent Rick Jones is unwilling to forfeit some of the district’s $106,000 travel budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year.

Some conferences are state mandated for teachers to keep their certification. Those aren’t the travel expenses in question. It’s the optional travel that should be cut — the optional travel that is not state mandated and does not directly improve teaching in the classroom.

In particular, it’s the superintendent’s travel expenses that are the most questionable.

Jones, who takes home an annual salary of $143,000 (before his voluntary 2 percent pay cut takes effect next year, making his wallet $238 lighter each month) has traveled out of the district a total of 30 days between Nov. 1, 2009, and June 30. Granted, not all those days were on the district’s dime. Just half of them were.

While he contends he gets “good ideas” from these conferences, one might counter that there are plenty of “good ideas” within the school district. Listening to his own employees might increase communication, make the employees feel valued and save a few bucks in the process.

Now that’s a good money-saving idea.

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