Durham Public Schools revokes district credit cards
Posted November 25, 2013
Durham, N.C. — Last month, Durham County school board members terminated the district-issued credit card for Durham Public Schools Superintendent Eric Becoats following thousands of dollars in questionable purchases.
On Monday, the school system decided to end the use of district credit cards for all employees as it continues to take a look at financial policies and procedures stemming from Becoats' misuse.
Board Chairwoman Heidi Carter said she hopes the latest step will help assure the public of the board's fiscal responsibility.
"We want the community to have a strong level of confidence in Durham Public Schools and the Board of Education," she said. "That's one reason we are taking this step today – to be very specific about how district resources can be used."
Chief Financial Officer Aaron Beaulieu told board members that the district can still operate through reimbursements, and he didn't rule out possible credit card use in certain cases.
Also Monday, Beaulieu presented new specific financial procedures and regulations regarding employee expenses, such as how much can be tipped at a restaurant or how much the school system will reimburse for the cost of Internet while traveling.
Durham Public Schools has four active credit cards that were all discontinued by Monday, district spokesman Chip Sudderth said.
Becoats' district credit card was reserved for business expenses, but a review of 331 pages of records belonging to his assigned credit card showed a variety of charges – from a couple hundred dollars to nearly $2,000 – for personal expenses from June 2012 to June 2013.
In August, Becoats was reprimanded for using a school bus to transport friends and family members to private events.
He is under contract until June 20, 2016, and has an annual salary of $195,700, plus a $600 allowance for in-county travel expenses.